Jeeps, boats, and helicopters. What comes to mind with those words?
Our family owns a Jeep Compass, I’ve ridden in several boats of varying sizes, speeds, and capabilities. One day, I would love to learn to fly a helicopter. But none of that has anything to do with today’s post.
No, when I think of the phrase jeeps, boats, and helicopters, something entirely different comes to mind. Let me tell you a story . . .
The Story about Jeeps, Boats, and Helicopters
Trust is accepting what God sends into your life whether you understand it or not. ~Timothy Keller, American pastor, and theologian
Let me start by saying I have no idea where this story originated. I first read it about ten years ago, and it stuck with me. A Google search revealed the story in various forms across the Internet, but I could not find any hint to the author. Please understand, this is not written by me and I make no claim upon it. Further, if you find evidence of who the original author is, I’ll be happy to give them credit.
Now, to the story.
A flood is coming.
There once was a man who lived in a two-story house. The house was near a river and unfortunately, the river began to flood. As the river rose, warnings were given via radio, television, and shortwave radio. Large jeeps drove through the area to evacuate people. As a jeep drove by the man’s house, he was told: “You are in danger. Your life is at stake. You must evacuate. Get in the Jeep.”
“No,” the man replied from his doorstep. “I have faith. I will be fine. God will take care of me.”
The water continued to rise. Soon the man was on the second floor.
Let us help you.
A boat was going through the area and arrived at the man’s house. Rescuers made every effort to convince the man to come with them. “You are in danger. Let us help you.”
“No worries,” said the man. “I have faith. Even though the flood is rising, I will be fine. God will take care of me.”
The flood continued to rise. The man went to the roof to avoid the rising water.
A helicopter pilot scanning the area saw the man on top of his roof. He hovered above the man and tried to convince him to grab the rope ladder which dangled above him. “You are in danger. The flood is still rising. Let us help you.”
“No worries,” said the man. “Yes, the flood is higher but I have faith. God will take care of me.”
The flood rose, and the man drowned.
In Heaven, the man said to God: “I had faith, but you let me die.”
God replied, “I sent you a warning, a jeep, a boat, and a helicopter. What more could I have done?”
Keep Your Focus Where God Wants It
It’s easy for some of us, maybe all of us, to see ourselves in the rescuer position. In my mind, I picture a woman full of attitude, wagging her head and her finger, saying, “I told them fools trouble was a-coming.”
Sure, sometimes God will use us as the one issuing the warning or driving the jeeps, boats, and helicopters.
But . . . but.
Over the course of our lifetime, God will send many warnings, and follow up with jeeps, boats, and helicopters as necessary for us, the idiots standing on the rooftop, rejecting help while proclaiming faith in God to rescue.
Learning to see the warning before the helicopter is necessary.
Over the years, one of the things I’ve purposely worked toward is recognizing God’s warning. I don’t always act upon it immediately, but I become watchful, looking for signs of danger and hints of oncoming Jeeps.
Sometimes, the situation is close enough to my heart that I want to ignore the warning and pretend the Jeeps aren’t really for me. But if a boat swings close . . .
I think of the time I felt a friend drawing away from me. It didn’t make any sense, but I became watchful. Then a conversation went poorly. My personality tends toward loyalty, and I didn’t want to throw away what I thought we had. Still, our talk had the semblance of a Jeep. Then, another friend let me know she was lying about me to others. As much as it hurt, I saw the boat and climbed aboard.
Not an exact science.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an exact science like mathematics. While sometimes God will send the rescuers to draw us out of trouble, occasionally He will delay them and draw us further into the mess. We will be standing on the rooftop, watching the waters rise. It’s not that we rejected the help He sent, but rather we’re left wondering what God is up to by not sending help at all.
My thoughts swirl around Corrie Ten Boom, living in German-occupied Holland during the Second World War. She and her family knew the danger they were in as they protected Jews. Still, they recognized God’s hand which pulled them deeper into the intrigue rather than out of it.
That decision cost Corrie dearly as she watched her sister dying beside her in a concentration camp, but it also deepened her faith as she watched small miracles happen: fleas that kept the guards out of their barracks, protecting their tiny Bible and nightly Bible studies; a vial of vitamins that far out-lasted its size, nourishing the sick and weak; her sister’s face in the moments after death in the concentration camp hospital. Corrie wrote in her book, The Hiding Place, “the deep hollows of hunger and disease were simply gone. . . . Even her hair was graciously in place as if an angel had ministered to her.”
God not only sees where you are, He sees where you can be. ~Joyce Meyer, Christian author and speaker
Which brings us back to Jeeps, boats, and helicopters. No, God won’t always send something so obvious to our rescue, but more often than we may recognize, He surrounds us with His warning and help.
The questions are this: Will you recognize His hand in the warning? Or, if He doesn’t send a rescuer, will you look for His grace in the turmoil?
Lori sees the danger looming in front of her, but she doesn’t know how to turn things around. Will God intervene? And what will He ask of her in the process?
Deployment changed him, and she doesn’t know if she can live with it.
After her husband returns from a deployment to Saudi Arabia, Lori Braxton begins noticing little differences in his behavior. He’s withdrawn, moody, and can’t sleep. Could it be the stress of military life after the 9/11 attack on New York? Maybe it’s the new assignment in Montana or the financial problems he ignores. Perhaps it’s forces she can’t see and doesn’t know how to fight, or maybe she’s a bigger part of the problem than she wants to admit.
What is God doing? Is He even paying attention?
Lori tries to attend church and do what God asks, but the truth is she doesn’t really hear Him speak. Between money strains, pregnancy hormones, and young ones underfoot, Lori spirals into depression.
What good could God possibly bring from the mess surrounding her?