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“Don’t Be Afraid. Just Trust Me”

Sometimes in one's life, we must ignore our feelings and trust our Father. When we are going through a difficult situation, God's promises stabilize us during any storm that may come. But Jesus ignored their comments and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me” (Mark 5:36).

Many years ago, when I was working as a commercial fisherman on the North Sea with my father on his fishing boat, we were on a long journey south to our home port of Harwich, Essex, England. It was past midnight, and my dad's turn to sleep. Before he lay down on the day bed in the wheelhouse alongside me, he gave me explicit guidance for when we passed the seaside town of Lowestoft, Suffolk. He instructed me to avoid the two sandbanks, the Inner and Outer Scroby Sandbanks, that ran parallel to the shore and about three miles from the coastline. I was to go close to the beach, away from the sandbanks, and escape the strong tide that was turning against us by the time we got there.

Two miles ahead, I could see the stern lights of two other fishing boats traveling with us from our home port. Dad had been asleep about an hour when I approached the Outer and Inner sandbanks. I reasoned that, instead of following my father's commands, I could follow the lights of the other boats through the channel between the sandbanks. Part of my thinking was that we were in a force nine severe gale, and the boat was pitching against the waves. It wasn't easy to see ahead due to the waves breaking over the wheelhouse. I feared that if I obeyed my father and went close to the shore, as dark as it was, I would not see Lowestoft Pier stuck out a few hundred yards from the shoreline. My dad was asleep, so I thought he would never know I had disobeyed him. Following the other boats, I entered the channel and saw the red buoy to my left and the green buoy to my right, so I knew I was at the start of the channel through the sands. I didn't realize, though, that after the other boats had gone through the channel, they had now turned course and were heading inshore so that they could also evade the fast-flowing tide against all three boats.

Following the other boats and not listening to my dad was a big mistake! My course had changed from going down the channel to following them inshore, but we hadn't come to the end of the channel yet. Our boat hit the Inner Scroby Sands, going full speed. My dad woke with a start as the keel stuck fast on the Inner Scroby Sand in a severe gale. Worse still, the tide was going down, and every minute diminished our chances of survival. My father told me to put the engine in reverse and give maximum thrust to the engine. When I did so, the boat leaned severely over on the port (left) side, and we nearly capsized.

In fear, I took the engine out of gear. Scared of death, I asked my dad to take control. He quickly took over the helm, saying, “We’ve got to do it, son!” Our very lives were at stake. If we'd capsized, we would not have been found in the darkness, and both of us could not swim, and we had no life raft at the time. In any case, it was three miles to Lowestoft in mid-winter, in the dark. With the tide going out and the water level dropping, the boat would not remain vertical–we would capsize. We faced certain death. Dad put the boat in reverse gear and gave maximum throttle on the engine. The boat again nearly capsized and shook violently as the rear end of the keel hit the sand. The propeller thrashed the water while I prayed madly, crying, "Help, Lord!" Our boat came off the sands within two minutes of my father taking the helm.

When we were safely on our way again, the Lord spoke to me very clearly, saying, “If you would just listen to your Father’s voice, you would be safe.” God often has a way of speaking on two different levels to us. I knew He was referring to my relationship with Him and that I was to trust His voice even when it seemed illogical. Father knows best!

Thank God that when we feel incapable, He is there to take control! Can you give Him control of your life? Or are you still following the other boats?

Can I challenge you to trust your Father’s voice? When the situation looks bleak, hear His voice, saying, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me” (Mark 5:36).

Please, Father, help us to know your voice and obey it. Keith Thomas


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