Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Even the Wind and the Waves Obey Him

Gale force winds race through the Okanogan Valley sweeping land and sky with angry fingers. Waves buckle, trees groan and clouds hurry by unable to withstand its furious force. 

Struggling to regain my balance I search for cover under a nearby overhang. Reaching in my pocket for my camera I do my best to capture the glory of the storm; the mix of golden rays mingled with the powerful rushing of the wind and waves.

Only 30 minutes earlier we had been relaxing by the pool, enjoying an idyllic afternoon near the shores of Osoyoos Lake. 

When the wind began to pick up, we had quickly packed up and made the short walk back to the townhouse friends of ours had so generously let us use; we were hardly inside before the storm was upon us. 

Watching it now, I marvel at the power of it. 

The mix of wind and waves brings to mind the story recorded in the gospels where Jesus calms the storm. In Mark 4:41 the disciples asked each other “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” We know the answer. He is Jesus, the Son of God, more powerful than any storm. 

Hours later when both kids are sound asleep, the adults sit up on the balcony enjoying more of God`s beautiful creation. The wind has died down now but the water and sky is still turbulent. The brilliant setting sun, and the sporadic flashes of lightning reflecting on water and sky is breathtaking. Once again I pull out my camera and do my best to capture the beauty.

A lone kayaker, paddles by rocking up and down in the turbulent water. The same one I had photographed the night before when the sunset was more placid. 

“That looks like fun,” Jason remarks, just as the kayaker flips his boat. “Well maybe not.” We watch as he pops back up and vainly tries to flip his kayak. From a distance it looks like he`s wearing a life jacket so we’re not too concerned yet. The man struggles longer and I get up. The waves muffle the sound but it sounds like he may be calling for help. 

“We should go Jay.” Almost simultaneously we jump up and hit the stairs running. Stopping only long enough to grab life jackets we make a beeline for the canoe. The neighbours several doors down must have had the same thought and we meet them now at the canoe. Jason and Joe jump into the canoe now, but with too much momentum. The canoe flips and it takes several moments now to flip it back and empty the water. 

The calls for help are more desperate now and the tip of the kayak is barely visible. With all their might Jason and Joe paddle as fast as they can to the drowning man. I watch from the shore, willing them to go faster. Nearing the man Jason launches himself out of the canoe while Joe steadies it. The man tries to grab at him, but Jason won`t let him. Talking to him all the while, the man finally calms down enough to follow directions and grasps the back of the canoe.  Once he has a good grip Joe fights the current to paddle back to shore as Jason swims beside. 

Lightning continues to zigzag across the sky as the canoe reaches the shore. Sobbing and shaking the man admits he had been drinking. Angry and upset after a fight with his wife he had taken his beer and loaded up the kayak in the hopes of drowning his sorrow. What he hadn`t counted on was the possibility of drowning himself.  With no life jacket in a stormy lake it was only God`s grace he made it out alive. 

With thankful hearts we watch as Joe brings the still shaking man to the shore. Jesus, who was so powerful that the wind and waves obeyed Him, in His providence chose to save this man`s life. 

As the sun disappears behind the horizon, the men talk to the survivor about God’s mercy. As the sky darkens I silently pray that this calling may have an eternal impact on his soul.

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