There was an old parable type story that I once heard about God’s provision. The story begins with a man who is on top of his roof because of a great flood that was happening and because of the flood he had to go to his roof to escape death. Being a Christian, the man began to pray to God that he be rescued.
Soon a raft came by and the man shouted up to the roof, “I am here to save you, come to the safety of my raft.”
To which the man on the roof responded, “No, no, I am waiting for God to save me.”
Soon the water rose up even higher and the man found himself on the very tip top of his roof. The man prayed even harder for God to save him.
Yet another boat came and this man also called out to the man stranded, “I am here to save you, come to the safety of my boat.”
To which the man said, “No way, I am trusting in God to come and save me — I do not need your help.”
The water continued to rise up and now the man found himself on the very top of his chimney stack. He prayed even harder, trusting that God would save him.
Soon an emergency helicopter came by and they shouted, “We are here to save you, come on so we can take you to safety.”
“Never,” the man shouted, “I am trusting that God will save me. I have prayed, I have trusted and God will provide!”
Soon the waters rose up so high that he could not hold on and he found himself overtaken and finally drowned. The next thing he found was himself walking up to St. Peter in heaven, for he was a faithful man.
He walked up very confused and asked, “I don’t understand. It was not my time to go, I had so much more to do! I prayed during the flood for God to save me and He failed me!”
To which Saint Peter responded, “I don’t know how much more our Lord could have helped you, for in the time you were stranded on the roof He sent you a raft, a boat and a helicopter! What more could he have done to save you?”
How often do we go through our life asking God for help and all the while, our life raft — our saving grace — is before us already waiting. God provides, but often our minds do not allow God’s provision to be made manifest in our lives because we believe that God will provide in ways that our minds conjure up. The Book of Isaiah plainly states: God’s ways are higher than our ways; His thoughts are higher than ours.
I know that I have prayed to God for things to go my way in my life, and at the time when my prayer was not answered I wondered if God was listening, however, later on when I saw the whole picture I realized that the answer to my prayer would have been a proverbial bullet to my life raft. The actual answer would have sunk me if my prayer would have been answered! The country legend, Garth Brooks has a famous song that he sings about some of God’s greatest gifts being unanswered prayer. Garth Brooks obviously has experienced the understanding and knowledge that God knows what He is doing even when we do not have the patience to stand back and wait on Him.
Sometimes we are on the roof waiting for help, sometimes we are on the chimney — and sometimes we are already in the life raft but cannot see that we are in safety. We only see that we are surrounded by the waters in all directions.
Currently, in my personal life I know that I am in a life raft floating out in the middle of the sea of uncertainty. The waves are high threatening to turn me over, the storm is fierce and the lightning is flashing across the sky. I am fearful and anxious because I cannot find any land to set my feet on. I want to be saved even though I am safe within the life raft. The problem? I cannot see the safety past the edges of the raft, although I know eventually the storm will run out of rain, the clouds will part and the waters will calm and disperse.
I must remember that Jesus is the raft where my family and I are safely and securely on board in His love and grace. I just need to have the courage to trust Him to calm the storm — at the right time. I need to trust that the storm is guiding me toward the right direction for without the wind I would be stagnating and floating helplessly adrift. All it takes is a single word from His lips to keep me safe and bring me to land, but right at this moment I am needed to learn how to cope with the fear, anxiety and uncertainty of the storm. I am to trust Jesus in the storm of my life, to trust Him in the flood. I also need to trust Him and be aware when He does send help my heart will be open enough to take the aid to my safety.
Each of us cries out for help in the time of need and in the time of doubt. Each of us cries out for some sort of revelation to help us in our lives. It would be easier for me to have God to tell me: do this or do that or go here or this is what I want from you, than to fight the storm because the problem is that during the storm of life, the raft begins to fill with water and we have to hold on for dear life while our world is crumbling around us (or in our minds our world is crumbling around us) than to trust God that He will give us the means to be saved.
I have a job right now — which I do praise God for — but the job is not what I want to be doing with my life. I have a home — which I praise God for — but I would like one that has one more room. I have been ordained into the priesthood — which I did not think was going to happen — but I am fighting everyday to excell. I have written two novels and yet I cannot even sell enough of them to get the initial deposit that I put down on them to print them. I really do not want to struggle any more in my life — HOWEVER, I need to trust that God will bring the answers to my prayers when the time is right in His mind. Perhaps I need to trust that I am at this job to bring one person into the revelation of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the house I want is not built yet. Perhaps the books I have written are to help provide my sons with a future after I am gone. Perhaps the priesthood was a way to bring me closer to Christ in His service.
Whatever the case, I am safe in the raft with God’s ever vigilant eye on me. I will not sink, I will not drown — I will be victorious in all that I do because Jesus is with me by my side. I will be content in my circumstances and pray for the things I need and desire. Until God fulfills His plans for my life I need to trust in Him that He will send the winds that will push me toward the land that HE wants me to be on.
When I cry out for aid and help, I know that I am safe in the raft of my Savior's grace and everlasting love. However, I sometimes get overwhelmed with sadness and depression because of being afloat and adrift in the water, but then when I wipe away the tears and turn my heart to trust. I realize that I am tethered to the throne of grace the whole time, we are not just floating helplessly in this life, we are never alone, and we may feel that we have no human comfort but Jesus is always holding me safely tethered to His throne and is with me. This has been a truth since the beginning of creation. God created man and woman; they were safe in the garden and then what did Adam and Eve do? They put a large hole in their perfect life raft that caused all of humanity to suffer with the promise of death.
We humans have been praying for a Savior to come and save us from our enemies throughout the generations from Egypt to Rome. Their prayers were answered and God sent deliverers to them and before you know it, they put holes in the grace that God gave them.
The final holes were literally to put nails into the hands, feet and lance in the side of Jesus the day they nailed Him to the cross. Even then God sent out the life raft to save us and even then through our own actions He answered our prayers by saving us. We Christians have the tendency to constantly try to sink the life raft of grace that surrounds us instead of being thankful for the safety it gives.
Jesus is the raft, the Holy Spirit the tether and God the Father is the throne. He encompassed all aspects of our safety from death — and still we try to put holes into the grace given us and we try to condemn ourselves by living in sin. Salvation is ours we need to just take the opportunity to take that saving grace. All we have to do is walk down the path leads to our salvation. I know it is definitely easier said than done. When God sends the raft, the boat and the helicopter to save us, we need to realize our saving grace has found us and that when we are saved we are not only floating helplessly in the sea, but we are safely secured to God’s throne of grace.