A young married couple decided their baby was old enough to take on her first backpacking trip. They had waited for this day ever since the pregnancy, for both were avid outdoors lovers. They missed the sounds of nature, the brilliant stars at night, and the peace of being away from everything.
The grandmother tried to convince her daughter to reconsider. She offered to watch the baby so that they could backpack again, but her husband intervened and ended the discussion. This was their decision. The parents had several contingency plans and felt confident that all would go well. Both agreed it was okay to back out if there was any sort of problem or if they ‘felt wrong’ about something. The last thing they wanted was to regret the decision they had made together, even if it was something they loved to do.
The baby had a slight cold on the day they left, and both parents wondered if perhaps it was best to stay at home in case the cold became worse. When she seemed to improve they decided to proceed with their plans. They agreed that if she seemed troubled they would stop or turn around. The baby slept most of the trip and neither parent noticed that her breathing was a bit strained while she slept.
When they were ready to begin the trek, the young woman made one last phone call to her mother as she had promised. She gave their coordinates, described the weather, and casually mentioned the cold that had almost kept them at home. Ignoring her mother’s protests, the young woman ended the conversation with a polite response that they were already on their way.
As the couple reached their destination the smile on both faces grew wider, both were thrilled to be back in the wilderness they loved so much. The baby had been in good spirits and was surprisingly easy to manage, looking around at all the changing scenery and listening intently to the different sounds around her. She seemed very lethargic and sleepy after the long journey and so the couple began to set up camp.
In the night the baby suddenly began to scream inconsolably. She was soothed when her mother walked with her around the camp, distracted by the many sounds at night. The next day involved more hiking and breaks to ensure the baby was comfortable and happy. The baby did well and had only one crying spell the entire day. Again at night the baby screamed intently and was taken outside. Her mother tripped over a root this time and injured her shoulder in the fall while protecting her baby. .
The next day they continued on, and at dinner the following evening the baby started to cry and would not be consoled this time. She kept pulling on her earlobe and rolling in pain. The father realized the circumstance was not good, for it was now very dark and they were a very long way from the car. He tried to soothe her but it was evident that something was wrong. He decided that she might have an ear infection. Without medicine, this could be a very bad trip even if was paradise to them. His wife’s shoulder injury complicated matters and he debated what to do.
He made his decision, he would carry the baby carrier and a few expensive items and they would stash the rest of their gear. With flashlights, they made their way through the dark as their daughter cried inconsolably. He would not let her suffer any more than he had to, and although his wife had trouble keeping up, together they made it to the car not long after dawn. He had the car ready in minutes and drove toward the hospital while his two passengers dropped into sleep.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story —————
In this story I wanted to reflect on not being prepared for a situation.
19…I will make you fishers of men.
In the second half of Matthew 4:19 we see a term used that I’m sure is not found in the Old Testament. Jesus has invited Peter and Andrew to follow Him, and now tells them their life will change if they follow Him. With a negative perspective you could hear “All the work and effort Peter and Andrew have put into fishing is now obsolete.” You could also point out that neither brother seemed interested in that as their direction in life.
Its possible Peter and Andrew wondered at this future Jesus promised. Being a fisherman would not prepare them to be a ‘fisher of men’. There are times in my life where I felt like I was starting over, just like the parents in this story who had to give up all their plans. To be promised a future where you or I will draw people to God is not an easy fortune. It’s quite intimidating because we know our darkest secrets and how unworthy we really are. Doubts can creep in and make us wonder “What if my brokenness gets in the way somehow?”
The idea that God uses imperfect men for His will is astounding. Jesus told the brothers their path would be much different, and throughout the Bible God has done this with imperfect people. Being given opportunity is a blessing not contingent on worthiness or if we are prepared. If I try to justify myself before God I only dig my heels deeper into quicksand. There was only one perfect man, the God-man Jesus. May my imperfections be a reflection of God’s perfect love, because only perfect love has seen past them.
Note: I want to wish all those father’s out there a happy Father’s Day, it is not always easy and there is not a lot of accolades given for the job.
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