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Biting Black Flies

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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“God sits in the center of the vessel when it rocks most." – C.H. Spurgeon

I’m sure my good friend, Larry “Chap” Lilly, won’t mind me sharing this story. It happened on a prison ministry trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula about 10 years ago.

Our 8-day schedule included more than 20 softball games in about a dozen different correctional institutions. However, we had one half-day off and so, I scheduled our team for a canoe trip down one of the U.P.’s beautiful rivers.

The scenery was breathtaking, but the biting black flies were out in force. As a result, we spent our time paddling with one hand and swatting flies with the other.

Meanwhile, Chap was sharing a canoe with Don Conner, one of our strongest and most easy-going players. Sitting up front as they approached a low-hanging branch, Chap leaned to the side to avoid being struck. Unfortunately, he shifted his weight too abruptly and the canoe tipped over into the frigid water.

Chap came up gasping for air and grabbed onto a nearby log. Meanwhile, Don did his best Samson imitation and lifted the canoe out of the water, draining it dry.

As comical as that story is, it portrays a deeper spiritual meaning. No matter where you are along the “river of life”, rest assured that God is right there in the boat – or the canoe – with you. Yes, even when you capsize or begin to take on water.

Just like He protected His disciples (see the passage below), He will protect and preserve you in the worst of storms and the most dangerous of predicaments. In fact, He may even send someone like Don Conner to help right your spiritual vessel.

Now, as far as the black flies, you’re on your own!

“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” Matthew 8:23-26 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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