On the Rocks by Randy Rowley 4/17/18 ©


On a chilly Saturday morning in April, Roland Olivarez and I headed to Lake Pflugerville for an FCS bass fishing trip.  When we arrived, we found that we had the lake to ourselves.  But, it wasn’t the cold that kept other fishermen, who are usually kayakers, away; it was undoubtedly the projected 15 – 25 MPH winds with gusts up to 30 MPH.

Motorboats are allowed on the lake, but they cannot use their gas motors.  But I couldn’t have broken that rule if I had wanted to, as I had sold my gas motor for parts shortly before this trip after a piston went bad.  That left my Minn Kota 74 lbs. thrust trolling motor and two paddles for propulsion.

Two months before this trip, the trolling motor and paddles weren’t up to the task on a windy day on Lake Decker.  Shortly before this trip, I bought a new 12-volt deep cycle battery to power the trolling motor, along with my existing one-year-old 12-volt deep cycle battery.  I felt confident that my trolling motor was now up to the task of handling the projected winds.

But, almost immediately after leaving the boat ramp, I had trouble keeping my boat in a straight line along the dam.   After a few minutes of frustration, we decided to go to the opposite side of the lake, where the houses near the bank would hopefully block the wind.  When we arrived, we found that it was indeed much calmer.

Over the next three hours, I caught three bass on a Norman Little N crankbait in red and blue glitter color, and Roland caught a bass on a red and black spinnerbait.

At around 10:30 AM, as we headed toward the boat ramp, we both got our crankbaits stuck on rocks by the shore.  I dropped Roland off on the shore, and he freed both baits.  The wind had picked up considerably, so we decided to call it a day.  Roland decided to walk to my truck, which was around 300 yards away, while I maneuvered my boat to the boat ramp.

I started to remove my outer clothes, as to trailer my boat, I would have to jump in the water.  As I was removing my pants, I reached back to get my phone out of my outer jacket to take a picture of the waves, but it wasn’t there!  Both jackets were no longer on my boat – the wind had blown them off, and they were heading towards the dam!

I turned up the power on my trolling motor and netted my outer jacket, but my inner jacket was now on the rocks along the dam.  I decided to go past it and then come towards it into the wind.  But, the estimated 25 – 30 MPH wind was too much for my trolling motor, even on full power, and it pushed my boat into the rocks that lined the dam.

After making no headway, I shut the trolling motor off and pulled its head out of the water.  I then got into the water and tried to keep my boat off the rocks.  Roland came over and joined me, and we ‘walked’ my boat along the shoreline, around 200 yards to the ramp.  Fortunately, the water was mainly waist-deep.  Unfortunately, the moss-covered rocks were very slippery.  We arrived at the ramp wetter and considerably colder than when we launched, but Roland, my boat, and I were whole.

Acts 21:17 – 28:11 tells the story of one of the many times that the Apostle Paul’s life was on the rocks.  After his third missionary journey, Paul arrived in Jerusalem.  Some Jews from Asia seized Paul and charged him with teaching against the Jewish law and the temple and defiling the temple by bringing Greeks into it.  Paul defended himself before the Sanhedrin, Governor Felix, and his successor, Festus.  During his trial before Festus, Paul appealed to Caesar, his right as a Roman citizen.

The Romans then put Paul on a ship that was bound for Italy.  Paul advised the ship’s owner, pilot, and the centurion not to leave port at that time because of the terrible winter storms, but they did not heed his warning.

When they passed near the island of Crete, a terrible storm hit them.  The wind blew so hard the sailors couldn’t steer the ship.  They jettisoned the cargo and non-essential rigging and dropped their sea anchor.  After several days, everyone on board, including Paul, gave up all hope that they would live.

Then an angel visited Paul.  He reminded Paul of God’s promise that Paul would testify before Caesar and told Paul that no one on the ship would die, but the ship would be lost.  Paul then told everyone on board.

On the 14th night after the storm began, the sailors sensed that they were nearing land.  They took soundings and found that the water was becoming shallower.  Fearing their ship being smashing into rocks in the dark, they dropped their anchors.  Just before dawn, Paul encouraged everyone to eat and thanked God for the food.

At daylight, they saw a bay and decided to try to sail the ship onto the beach.  But, as they drew close to shore, the ship hit a sandbar and held fast.  The waves begin to smash into the ship, and it began to break up.  Everyone abandoned ship.  But as he had promised, God spared all of their lives.

Paul’s story, and to a much lesser degree, Roland’s and my trial, teach us three practical truths:

  1. While we might not be in control, God is in control.  Jesus said in John 10:27-30, “‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.'” The sailors had done all that they could do.  They couldn’t navigate, and even if they could, they couldn’t steer the ship.  They were utterly at the storm’s mercy.  In Roland’s and my case, we could save my boat, and we did.  But, if this had been one of several other central Texas lakes that had deeper water by their dams, we wouldn’t have been able to walk my boat out.  Saving the people who were on the sandbar with Paul was a simple matter to the Creator of the universe, who said in Jeremiah 32:27, “‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?'”
  2. Our duty during life’s storms is to trust God.  Because of this trust, we will behave differently than those who do not know God.  Everyone on that ship had abandoned all hope that they would live.  Then the angel came to Paul and reminded him of God’s promise and told him God’s specific plan regarding their present predicament.  Paul shared the angel’s words with everyone on board to encourage them.  He later did something practical – he encouraged everyone to eat to give them the strength to swim to shore.  He also publicly thanked God for the food.  Taking a reasonable step didn’t lessen his trust in God.  Later, after what he foretold had happened, he probably seized the opportunity to share the gospel with everyone. Paul had opportunities to preach many sermons, teach many lessons, sing many songs, and pray many prayers.  But, other than thanking God for the food, Luke didn’t record that Paul did any of those things.  Instead, Paul established his credibility by reminding everyone that he had earlier implored them not to make the journey at that time of the year and later proclaimed that they would not die.  Only after they saw that Paul was a man of his word would the sailors, soldiers, and prisoners be interested in what he had to say about Jesus. Paul probably had many opportunities to proclaim Christ to a receptive audience in the three months they stayed on that island.
  3. When a storm catches us, we’re not necessarily out of God’s will – we could be in that storm because of our sin.  Either God is using the storm to teach us, or it’s the natural consequence of our sin.  If that is the case, there is just one remedy – repent.  But, sometimes, we’re in the center of God’s will, like Paul was, and still have to go through a storm.  God had told Paul that he would stand trial before Caesar – he just didn’t bother to share the details to Paul of how he would get to Rome.  Undoubtedly, the storm and shipwreck were a big deal to Paul and his companions, but to God, the details of how he would get Paul to where he was supposed to be were trivial.

So, if you find yourself in a storm, or worse yet, a storm has pushed you onto the rocks, remember the maker of the stars holds you in the palm of his hand.  All that he requires from you is to trust him and repent if you’re in a storm due to your sin.

The waves

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible verse of the day

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/