The Raft


Title: The Raft God's #guidance, the #Bible


  • 2018-09-01: Birmingham First Church

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Have you ever tried to make something that didn’t work?


During the winter of 1992-1993, when I was twelve years old, there was a lot of snow in the area where I lived. In some places, the snow was a lot more than three feet deep. It was fun to play in, but eventually spring arrived.

During spring, all that snow melted. Suddenly, there was a huge amount of water and no place for it to go. Because of that, all the rivers were flooding.

@ My house was more than a quarter of a mile from the Susquehanna River and 35 feet above the river. But that spring, things were different. @ The river jumped its banks, crossed the park behind my house, and came to about 200 feet from my house. The water level was only six feet from the house.

@ From a nearby bridge, my friend Jacob and I looked at the park. It was completely underwater. All we could see of the park’s baseball field was the backstop and the top of the fence. A family of ducks was swimming between first and second base.

Jacob and I wanted to go to the park, but we couldn’t because of all the water. Then we got an idea.

@ “Let’s build a raft,” Jacob suggested.

@ It sounded like a good idea to me, so we set about finding the things we’d need for the raft. @ First, we found an old wooden pallet. It would be the deck of the raft, where we’d sit. But the pallet had many holes in it, so we didn’t think that it would float. So, we looked for some things to make it float.

@ First, we found some spare wheels for my dad’s trailer. Since tires are full of air, we thought that they’d help our raft to float. We tied the tires to the pallet, but we weren’t satisfied. @ Then, we found a bunch of one gallon plastic water jugs. “They ought to hold a lot of air,” we said. So, we tied them to the pallet as well.

Finally, we were ready to launch our raft. @ We found a couple of sticks so we could pole the raft along. @ We were trying to figure out how to move the heavy raft to the water when my parents came outside and saw the raft.

“What’s that?” my mom asked.

“It’s a raft. We’re going to float it in the floodwater over the park,” I replied.

My parents quickly looked at the raft. “It’s too dangerous,” my dad said. “It won’t float.”

“But we’ve got tires and water jugs,” I protested. “It’ll float just fine.”

“No,” my dad insisted. “Those things won’t help. The tires are mounted on heavy metal wheels. They won’t float. And the caps on the water jugs come off easily. They’ll just fill with water. Also, the floodwater moves really fast. You might get swept out into the main part of the river and sink. Because of the fast water, you couldn’t swim to the shore. It’s too dangerous.”

Thus ended Jacob’s and my rafting plans. We reluctantly took apart our raft. Not long after that, the water subsided.


@ Have you ever tried to make something that didn’t work? It’s a very common thing. But there’s something that does work every time. You can go to God when you have a problem. There’s lots of good advice in His Word, the Bible.

Psalm 119:105 says about God’s word, “Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way. It is like a light that guides me” (NIrV). If you follow God’s way, your life won’t be like my raft.