In my dream I was standing on the bow of a tiny cruise ship. (I’d call it a yacht, but I’ve never been on one, so I can’t be sure that’s what it was.)
The crew had prepared the boat for departure. Everyone should have been onboard, but I saw a man I knew from church standing on the dock. He looked confused and borderline desperate.
I assumed he wanted to board, and hurried to help him. I couldn’t find a single crewmember, so I looked for a door to open for him. I searched and searched for a way to help the man climb onboard, but the boat was sealed up tight.
I felt urgency and a profound sense of responsibility for his wellbeing.
The little ship started moving and I knew I had failed. I peeked through a porthole and watched the man from my church grow smaller and smaller. I hated leaving him behind.
When I turned from the porthole, I discovered I’d wandered into the engine room.
I stood in the heart of the ship and somehow I knew I was blessed to be onboard.
But the dear man had missed the boat.
And the blessing.
Suddenly I heard loud, rushing water and the ship began to lurch. I wondered what I’d gotten myself into.
I struggled to make my way back to the deck, and soon found a door. It led me to the bridge. The captain and crew looked grave. Fear crept into my throat.
Would I survive this frightening ride?
The force of water threw me forward, but I held on. The ship plunged over a waterfall, but I still held on.
I remember thinking the man on the shore was better off.
I cried out to God and immediately everything stood still. The sound of rushing water and the lurching of the boat stopped.
I looked out over the bow and saw that not one drop of water remained. The boat sat on dry ground.
The captain issued orders to engineering, to other members of his crew, and even to all the passengers. He told us someone had to figure out how to get the ship sailing again.
All kinds of theories came forth.
1. Send for a large truck and trailer.
2. Put engineers to work building wheels.
3. Trace the source of the drainage and dam it.
The captain considered each idea and rejected all.
I prayed, “God, how are we supposed to get out of this mess?”
“They’re trying to solve the problem with things they can do,” God replied. “They haven’t considered the miraculous. All they have to do is ask me, and I will send the water they need.”
Everyone was scrambling, trying to fix the situation. But no one asked God to intervene. No one expected a miracle.
I awoke convicted. When I try to fix impossibilities on my own, my efforts look as silly as putting wheels on a boat.
But what did the man from my church have to do with it?
I called my girlfriend. (The same one who told me who the puppy was.)
Her explanation floored me. She said that I couldn’t do a single thing to guarantee someone’s salvation.
I could try and try to show the way, but ultimately God has to open the eyes of the blind. God has to reveal Himself.
If a man from my church wants to stand on the dock, attend Sunday morning services, and read the Bible but not get onboard, I’m powerless to keep him from being left behind.
But I can expect a miracle. I can ask God to offer living water to that person. Who could refuse that?
Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a sping of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14 NIV