I wrote in an earlier post about a trip I took with my son to deliver his newly purchased sailboat, the Orenda, to his home port of Charleston, South Carolina. You can read about that adventure here. In this post I’d like to go into more detail on one aspect of that story.
We were grounded at an inlet near Beaufort, North Carolina. The tide had gone out, was now coming back in, and Jeff’s boat on which we had stayed awake all night was righting itself after having been heeled on it’s side in the shallow water for several hours. During this tense predicament Jeff and I had prayed together, asking God to protect us and the boat, and petitioning Him to send someone or something to help free us from the sandy bottom which held us in its clutches. At one point as Jeff was revving the engine in an attempt to power off the bottom the boat lurched forward only to become stuck again in another area of shallow water.
About that time, still in the wee hours of the morning, we heard a power boat approaching which appeared to be on a heading that would take it very near to us. Jeff started waving his hands so as to get the pilot’s attention. Perhaps this person would be so kind as to tow us free while using his depth finder to scope out a deeper area where we could anchor and catch a few hour’s sleep. As the fellow steered his boat only 100 feet or so in front of our bow he looked at us and obviously saw Jeff’s waving arms. Instead of slowing down, he began yelling loud and continuous profanities. He continued this tirade until we could no longer hear his angry, raspy voice over the fading drone of his engine. Jeff and I were shocked, not so much at his unwillingness to stop, but at his intense irritation over our trying to get his attention. What would make him so angry?
Because he passed so near to our boat, his wake was now causing the Orenda’s keel to bounce up and down on the bottom. Jeff quickly jumped into action, put the boat in gear, and throttled up the engine. In no time at all we were free, and out depth finder indicated we were soon in water that was 8 or more feet deep! We cheered at our good fortune and dropped anchor.
As Jeff and I talked it over before getting some shuteye, we realized God had answered our prayers. We were safe, the boat was safe, and he had sent someone to help us out. We laughed, supposing that this fellow for some reason had woke up in the early morning, was unable to sleep, and in anger at God and the world felt there was nothing better to do than to release his frustrations by taking a fast nighttime ride in his boat. Little did he know he was answering our prayer for assistance.
Later, as I reflected on this situation, I recalled the story in the Bible of King David, and his response to Shimei who felt compelled to curse David loudly as David was fleeing Jerusalem. David’s son, Absalom, had conspired to take over the throne from his father, and David in humility but still trusting in God’s goodness, decided to leave Jerusalem peacefully instead of fighting against his own son. When David’s right hand man asked David for permission to “take off Shimei’s head,” David said “Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today” (2 Samuel 16:11-12 ESV).
God can use people and situations that, on the outside, appear to be a curse, but He instead turns the curse into a blessing. He did this with His own son, Jesus, who was murdered by lawless men, yet His death provided a way for us to be reconciled to God. Scripture proclaims this was “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God…” (Acts 2: 23-24). It is a wonderful privilege to serve such an awesome God who causes “all things to work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).