April 14, 2024


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

A few days ago I was driving by the river. It turned out to be a very pretty day. White fluffy clouds against the bright blue sky and the sun shining thru them made it very nice however it was also very windy.  As I neared the  an  area close to the river, I could see whitecaps in the river.  Suddenly I recalled a time when I was about 14 years old. I remember it was a cold, sunny, early, Saturday morning. I was standing on the river bank. I was with my dad, my dad’s friend and the friend’s son. 

We were putting a john boat in the river.  We were going to row across the river and do a little bit of fishing.   I remember standing on the shore looking across the river & thinking it did not seem very far over to the other side.  I also remember the wind whipping my hair into my face as I put on my “Mae West”.  

I climbed into the boat & sat down facing the front of the boat.  I remember I was excited to be taking a boat ride and going fishing that morning. I cannot swim but I was never afraid to get in the boat to go out on the water with my Dad.  

Everyone else got in the boat and we shoved off from the shore.  Everything was going pretty smoothly. I was enjoying the ride…until we were about 20 feet from the shore.  

The boat suddenly dipped down in the front.  I was shocked for a moment but then ok, the boat seemed to be rocking quite a bit however.  I could see some whitecaps in front of us. I had my back to the others in the boat. Suddenly the boat dipped down again & the spray from the wave hit me in the face.  Now I was more than shocked, I was wet, mad & starting to get scared. I thought that my dad and his friend who were both rowing were causing this to happen.  Dad shouted to me. “You better hold on!” 

Down again we went and as we did I suddenly realized that I could not see the Ohio shoreline, in fact the only thing I could see was water!!  Just as quickly as we went down we came back up. This same thing happened over and over and over again. It was like riding on a wild roller coaster only I was on the water in a tiny little boat, which I thought might capsize at any moment.

I knew in my mind that we were going to die right out there on the river. I knew that I would become fish food. I was terrified.   I turned and looked at my dad who was rowing away and he did not seem scared at all nor was his friend. However the boy looked like he might be getting sick.

I was praying now that we could somehow reach the other shore or maybe some big river boat would pick us up or that God would make the wind stop blowing, anything to just get me out of the rough water and safely on dry land.  It seemed to me that we were out there on the river for hours & hours. I later learned the whole trip only took less than 20 minutes.  

Upon arriving at the boat ramp, my dad told me to stay in the boat so my feet would not get wet.  Too late, I was already wet and very scared! I hopped right out of that john boat and scampered up the river bank.  The young boy with us also promptly got out of the boat. 

As we started to climb up the river bank my dad’s friend shouted to us. “Where do you kids think you are going?”  

The boy who looked pretty pale, said. “I am going to find a payphone to call mother to come get us.”  My dad yelled. “You can ride back in the boat with us when we are done fishing.”

Neither of us stopped nor replied we just kept walking to the little grocery store near the end of the bridge.  When we arrived at a little store, we use the payphone to call the boy’s mother, who came and got us.   

I learn several things that day:
First, I would never get in a john boat to go out in the river when there are whitecaps.  
Second, whitecaps in the river are dangerous no matter how pretty they may look from the shore.  
Third, it takes a lot to make me seasick but not much rocking of the boat to scare me. 
Fourth, I also learned that God was with us that day. I now know that God is always with me, even when I make poor choices or do stupid things or even when I sin.  
He never ever leaves me! That is a wonderful comfort. To know that no matter what thing we are doing God is right beside us.  I also know that when we do something that is not pleasing to him that he will forgive us and expect us to try to do better the next time. However we must ask for forgiveness.   

Prayer—

“Father God, thank you for loving and protecting us through out each moment of our lives.  Thank you for nudging us when we do wrong and forgiving us of our sins when we confess them to you.  Help us to show your love and kindness each person we come in contact with. We love you and praise you for the gift of eternal life. Amen. 

the Church Mouse 

Work hard, Pray harder!