Amusement Park: Boat Ride

Amusement Park: Boat Ride

“I’ll meet you on the other side,” Jesus said as He helped Amalia into the little yellow boat.

“You’re not coming with me?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll still be with you, but in a different way.”

Amalia’s smile faded. She liked His presence, and wasn’t thrilled to have to be on this ride without it. True, this was just a little boat in a large pool with clear emerald water, as benign as a ride could get, but that didn’t really matter. She wanted to feel His presence. She watched, already missing Him, as He walked away and disappeared around a corner.

Turning her attention to the boat, she noticed two things right off. First, there was a steering wheel. Good, she liked having some control. Second, there was no source of power. No on/off switch. No accelerator to step on. No throttle to pull. How was she supposed to get this boat moving? And why a steering wheel if she couldn’t control the boat? It didn’t make sense.

Amalia looked around for someone in charge, but of the few people she saw, no one looked like a park employee. There were a few other boats moving around. Maybe one of them could help her out. “Hey!” she called, hands curved around her mouth. “How do you get this boat to go?”  When no one answered, she stood up and yelled, “HEY! A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE!” Still, no one appeared to hear her.

She sat back down. Now what? She considered her options. She could continue to yell for help. She could just sit there and wait for the ride controller to show up. Or she could leave.

Fine. She didn’t want to go on this ride anyway. At least not without Jesus. This was not what she thought it would be. She should just get off this stupid boat, and walk around to the other side of the pool. It’s not that far.

Grumbling, she stood up. But before she could step out, a voice called to her. “What are you doing? You’re going to tip the boat over! Sit down!”

Looking down, she noticed the boat was indeed rocking. She looked back up at the man who was running towards her. “Where have you been? I wouldn’t have had to stand up if you had been here doing your job!”

“Sorry, I had an emergency,” he managed between gulps of air. “My …”

“I don’t care.” Amalia cut in as she flopped back on to the seat. “Just get this boat going.”

“Well, you have to do that.”

“Don’t you think I’ve tried that? There’s no power switch or accelerator!” She frowned at the man. “Hurry up, will you? I’m supposed to meet someone on the other side.”

“It doesn’t run on that kind of power. It…”

Amalia interrupted again. “I don’t care what kind of power it runs on. Get it moving!” She could feel the anger taking control inside her, but she didn’t care. He could have gotten someone to take his place before running off for his “emergency”. He probably just wanted some pizza.

The man’s voice became hard. “Like I was saying, it runs on…”

“And like I was saying, I don’t care.”

“Lady, you’d better quit interrupting me or I’m going to make you leave.” He pointed towards the center of the park. “There’s plenty of other rides to complain about.”

“I want this one. Make this boat move.”

Through a clenched mouth, he said, “You have to use the steering wheel.”

Amalia raised her eyebrows and glared at him. “Are you dumb? Steering wheels are for guiding, not for power.” She ignored the conviction of wrongdoing that was growing inside her. If this man wasn’t being so difficult, she wouldn’t have to act like this.

“Me? At least I’m smart enough to know how to make the boat go. Quit being a jerk long enough for me to tell you.” He pointed his finger at the wheel. “This steering wheel is different. All you have to do is…”

Frustrated, she hit the steering wheel. The boat gave a jerk, knocking her back in her seat.

“… push on the steering wheel.”

Still glaring, she tentatively pushed on the wheel. The boat moved forward.

“To move backwards, just…”

“I think I got it,” Amalia didn’t let him finish. “I’m not stupid.”

She pushed down more firmly, and felt gratified when the boat leapt forward. Finally!0627200525 (2)

Without looking back, she sped off towards the center of the pool. She was in no mood to enjoy the ride. She just wanted to get to the other side as quickly as she could.

You shouldn’t have acted like that. Go back and apologize.

The thought startled her, but she pushed it away. She liked the feeling of power her anger had given her. She had a right to it. That man had not been doing his job. Besides, he wasn’t so nice to her either. And he had ruined this ride for her. How was she supposed to enjoy a leisurely trip across the pool when she had to hurry to meet Jesus now?

But the thought wouldn’t stay away. Each time it returned, she countered it with excuses, allowing the anger to build inside. It was his fault because he broke a park rule by leaving a ride unattended. It wasn’t fair that the other boat riders got to ride before she did. There should have been a how-to sign posted. Besides that guy wasn’t important, he just a worker. He deserved to be treated like that for delaying her ride and treating her so disrespectfully. Maybe he would think twice before doing that to someone else. He sure wouldn’t have acted that way if Jesus had been there. Yeah, if Jesus had been there, everything would have been great. Jesus should never have left her.

A splash of cold water on her face broke through her self-justification. The pool no longer looked like an emerald mirror. It was rough and growing rougher by the minute. She struggled to control the wheel as the waves crashed into her again and again. Scared now, she tried to orientate herself. She could no longer see the far edge of the pool. In fact, she could not see any edges. All she could see was water. Rough, angry water. Giving up trying to control the wheel, she held on to the sides of the boat as it rocked violently from side to side. Waves began to break over her now, and she watched with horror as the bottom filled with water. She was going to sink!

“Jesus! Help me!”

Not getting a response, she called out again. “Jesus, please save me!”

Again, no response. Did Jesus abandon her? Surely not. He promised to always be with her. So where was He? What was keeping Him from helping her?

She called out over and over, thinking maybe He hadn’t heard her over the sound of the waves. But she was met with silence each time. Finally, exhausted and hoarse, she slumped in her seat. The water was now chest high. She closed her eyes. “Jesus, You said You’d be with me even if I couldn’t see You. I’m going to hold on to your promise, and wait for You to answer.”

You shouldn’t have acted like that. Go back and apologize.

That same thought again, but this time, she acknowledged her wrongdoing. “I’m sorry. I was wrong to get angry. I was wrong to treat that man like that. It doesn’t matter how he treated me, I did not act as You have taught me. I did not treat him as I would have wanted to be treated by him. I sinned against You, and I have no excuse. I’m sorry for that, and for my disobedience. Please forgive me. I will do as You say. I will apologize to him, if I don’t die out here first.”

BOOM!

She jumped as one word, one mighty majestic word, boomed like thunder across the waters. “PEACE!” Instantly the waves receded and the pool became as still as glass. Amalia looked around in wonder. He did it! Jesus had saved her!

Standing up, not caring that the boat rocked, she raised her arms high. “I can’t see You, but I know You’re here! Sin has no place with You, for you are a holy God! When I confessed my sin, You were quick to forgive me. You are powerful and glorious!”

After worshiping for a while longer, Amalia sat back down, and continued across the pool to where Jesus was waiting for her.

“So, how was your ride?” He asked as he helped her out of the boat.

She thought about it for a minute. So many adjectives came to mind: powerful, scary, wet, weird, unexpected, convicting, horrible… But she settled on one.

“Educational.”

“Educational?”

“I learned some things that I hope I never forget.” She started walking back towards the park employee to deliver her apology.

“Like what?”

“God and sin do not mix. God is incredibly more powerful than I had thought. And God is quick to forgive.”

Jesus smiled. “Then that was one amazing ride.”

 

 

 


Scriptures:

Psalm 69:1-3  Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.

Jonah 2:2-5a  saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.” The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me…

Psalm 32:1-5 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Psalm 29:2-4  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

 

Get Out of Your Boat

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Come walk with Me.

Um… You’re walking on water.

Yup, and you can, too. Come on out here.

I will sink. Those waves are bigger than I am, never mind the deep water underneath. And who knows what’s down there?

I will keep you above the water. Come on, it’s okay.

I appreciate Your invitation, but I really should stay in my boat. It’s keeping me safe from the storm.

I will keep you safe. Come out of your boat, and take a walk with Me.

Well, that sounds nice and all, but I have to think about my health. If I don’t worry about doing everything right, I might get sick.

Focus on Me, and let Me keep you well. Come on, we’ll exercise together.

If I’m out there with You, who’s going to worry about making sure there’s enough money in the bank to pay my bills. What if something big happens and I don’t have enough money?

I will supply your needs. Leave your boat, and let’s go on an adventure.

That sounds great, but who will take care of my family and dogs? I have to stay here to make sure their needs are met, too.

I will meet their needs. Come on, you can do it. Come to Me.

But I made this boat super strong. It can protect me from the rough waves.

I’m stronger. Come out here, and be with Me. You will see how strong I am.

I know people can’t really walk on water. Besides, You’re more like a ghost. My hand will go right through Your hand, and I’ll drown.

I will hold you up. You will not drown. Come out of your boat, and dance with Me.

But it doesn’t make sense to trust something I can’t understand instead of trusting something I can see and touch.

You’re thinking is backwards. Trusting the boat doesn’t make sense. It’s just boards nailed together. It can break. It can sink. It’s Me you need to trust. I will never break or sink. Trust Me. Come out here, and stay with Me.

I’m scared.

I know. I am trustworthy. Come out here, and find out.

I’m coming.

Here’s My hand. This is going to be amazing!

Life is Like a Beach, section 4: Waves

The following is part of a book I would like to publish someday. It’s too long to blog as one post so I’m breaking it up section by section.  Each section can be read as a stand-alone, and hopefully my analogies will provide food for thought as well as encouragement to keep on going no matter where you find yourself in life.  I’ve added links  at the end to the previous sections to make them easier to find should you want to read them. Oh, and all photos were taken by me and are untouched other than cropping when necessary. God’s creation is so awesome just the way it is!

 

Waves

Sometimes the waves are large and powerful. The thunderous sound of them crashing can be scary, yet there is something awe-inspiring in them.

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Other times the  waves are smaller and quieter. Watching them fills me with peace that I rarely find anywhere else. Both kinds of waves make white foam that adds beauty to the beach.

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Life is a lot like the waves. Sometimes it’s loud and rough and scary. Our days are filled with one thing after another, oftentimes crashing into each other.  The sound of the uncontrollable events we see coming may scare us  and cause us to doubt God’s sovereignty in our lives.  Or they may be awe-inspiring as we experience God’s power in our circumstances.

Other times life is calmer and quieter and peaceful. Everything seems to be working well and we wonder that we ever doubted God and His promises.

No matter what it’s like, God is in control and can make something beautiful out of it.

He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:29

 

Previous sections:

Section 1: The Path

Section 2: Red Flags

Section 3: Water

Digging For Real Treasure

With all the broken shells lining the beach, she just knew this was the spot. She set her beach towel and bag on the sand way above the high tide mark, then took her net and img_20180604_222246027.jpgwalked into the water. Staring down at the shifting shells along the breaking waves, she watched for anything that was a darker shinier black than anything else.  She was determined to find a shark tooth before having to go home but she found the waves very distracting and frustrating as they kept blocking her view and making the shells move before she could catch any.

So she began scooping up random piles of shells and dumping them on the beach above the water’s reach. Then stooping, she spread out the pile with her hands searching through all the broken pieces for the telltale shiny black. After many such searches, she gave up. This was not getting her anywhere.

She went back to standing in the water and concentrated on what she could see, hoping to find that one big tooth she knew was there. Her entire attention was focused on the search. She tuned out the sun beating down on her. She turned out the birds calling to each other. She tuned out the people strolling by. She even tuned out the waves as she peered intently through the water. Eventually, worn out, she gave up and went back up on the beach.

Sitting down near the shells that lined the high tide mark,  she began digging. Maybe she would dig up a tooth that had washed up then gotten buried by the sand. Jack pot! Within a few minutes she found a small but beautiful tooth! Feeling satisfied that she wouldn’t be going home empty handed, she headed for her towel.

As she sat, resting before her long walk back to her car, she had a thought. Why can I ignore the waves and sun and other distractions while searching for something as trivial as a shark tooth, and yet not be able to ignore all the distractions that call me away from searching the Bible for a word from God?

I’m going to have to make some changes, she told herself. It’s time to dig for the real treasure.