God’s protection of his grandfather made a real impression on Robbie.
“Dad, tell me again about the time Grandpa’s boat sank,” Robbie begged.
“Robbie,” his dad laughed, “you must have heard that story a hundred times! But I don’t blame you for liking it. It really is exciting the way the Lord protected your grandpa. I was just five years old when it happened, but I still remember when he came in the next day and told us all about it.
“Your grandpa had been sick, when a businessman in town asked to hire him to take him across the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Port Townsend, Washington. Grandpa had an old fishing boat with a small engine, but it was seaworthy.
“On the trip over, the businessman poked a little fun at Grandpa. ‘Mr. Green, you say you’re a Christian. So how come you’re sick? If religion is so good, why aren’t you living on easy street without a care in the world, and certainly not sick and coughing like you are? Isn’t your God taking care of you?’
“Your grandpa simply answered him, ‘God does take care of me.’
“The businessman just snorted and the subject was dropped. Later, as that day wore on, Grandpa’s simple statement was proven true.”
Robbie interrupted. “Get to the part where the boat was sinking, Dad.”
“Hold on, I’m about there,” his dad chuckled. “The businessman took care of his concerns and they started back home, toward the San Juan Islands. About four or five miles out, the engine started coughing and sputtering. Grandpa went below to work on the motor, leaving the other man to pilot the boat. Maybe the man didn’t know what he was doing, because somehow they ran into something—perhaps a partially sunken log. It broke a hole in the boat’s hull and in moments they were taking on water and beginning to sink.”
“I remember that part, Dad! They got life preservers and climbed up on top of the pilot house,” Robbie interjected.
“Well, sort of . . . behind it, actually. They were sinking fast and soon a big wave crashed across the top and almost washed them off. The man with your grandpa was terribly afraid and he screamed out, ‘There’s no hope! The tide is going out and the wind is blowing us out to sea.’
“Your Grandpa had hope though! He had a promise of God’s protection. As the waves crashed over him, a verse from the Bible came to him: ‘When thou passest through the waters . . . they shall not overflow thee.’
“Just think what that promise meant to Grandpa! There he was with absolutely no help—it was nighttime; there were no ships around; and he had no radio to let anyone know he was in trouble. Grandpa didn’t even know how to swim! No one knew of their predicament—except Jesus! He knew . . . and He helped.
“The next few waves tore the boat apart. Grandpa and the man were clinging to a section of the front deck and Grandpa began to help the man tie himself to the deck rail with some rope. As Grandpa was praising the Lord, ‘Glory to God, I have Jesus,’ the man was crying out ‘I’m not ready to die!’
“Not ready to die—what a terrible thing! At the moment of death, there was no peace. In his last few moments of life, his cry was, ‘If I ever get out of here, Lord, I’ll live differently.’ But Grandpa said he felt as happy as though he were home, because he had the promise that the Lord would protect him and take him safely to shore.
“And the Lord did! Grandpa was in the water, lashed to a bit of the boat and paddling with a board, for six hours. Then, after he had crawled up onto the beach, he had to try to find help. He had seen a light afar off, but he was so worn out that whenever he tried to stand up, his legs cramped and he fell. Finally, he found two sticks and used them for canes. Somehow he managed to stumble the three miles to a little cabin where he was given dry clothes, food, and a warm bed. God had brought him to safety!”
Robbie let out a sigh of relief. As often as he had heard the story, he was always glad when he could picture Grandpa safe in the little cabin, getting warm. His dad went on.
“There’s a lesson in this for you, Robbie. God will protect you, too! You might never be shipwrecked, but someday you may face a situation just as serious. God did not promise that if we are Christians we’d never have a problem, but He did promise to make a way through our problems—a way of escape!
“Sometimes you might be tempted to wonder, Why didn’t God keep it from ever happening at all? I can’t answer that. We must not try to outguess God. We only trust Him; He knows the end from the beginning. He knows what difficulties face us, and He promises a way through.
“The important thing to remember Robbie, is that ‘all things work together for good to them that love God.’ He will protect you and take care of you if you keep on loving Him.”