Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thin Ice by John (A story story)

Thin ice

Jack and Henry went ice fishing in high spirits. The weather was not too cold, and there was no wind. They looked forward to having a great time. Henry noticed the ice looked thin, but Jack assured him it was plenty thick. He pointed to a spot where he knew the water was deep and the fishing would be good. "That's where we need to be, Henry!"

His friend hesitated. "I think that ice is too thin, Jack. You know how tricky river ice is. There may be a really thin spot between here and that deep hole!"

"Nah! I was out there last week! It's fine! You're too cautious, Henry!" A frown accompanied his words.

Henry frowned back at him, "A lot can change in a day or two. I just don't believe in taking unnecessary risks, and I don't want you to either. We need to remember our families depend on us, Jack."

Jack shook his head in resignation, "Well, you can sit up here on the bank if you want to, but I know the fish go deep when it's cold like this, and I'm going out there and catch 'em just like I always do!"

"Please, Jack be careful! Check the ice. You know that water is over your head, it's cold, and the current could wash you away! If it breaks I may not be able to help you! I don't want to lose a friend!"

"I won't need your help! That ice is plenty thick. It's never let me down before, and it won't now!"

Jack looked back at Henry as he strode confidently out on the ice with his metal cleats leaving little punctures marking his passage. Head shaking, Henry sat down on a log and began to rumage through his pack. He wondered if he was being too careful. A loud cracking sound interrupted his thoughts. His head jerked up to see what was happening. "Jack! Look out! I heard the ice crack!"

Jack was standing stock still. He yelled back, "I heard it, too! You know it does that sometimes, but it's nothing to worry about." The cracking sounds ended, and quiet returned. Jack smiled back at his friend and waved, "False alarm!" He moved forward again. The first step brought another cracking sound, and as Henry watched, Jack suddenly plunged into ice water. He threw out his arms. He was in up to his shoulders, but his arms on the ice stopped him from disappearing beneath the surface. Jack struggled to get out!

Henry was already on his feet. "Be still, Jack! Hold on! Stop moving!" "You'll just make the hole bigger!" The numbing cold was such a shock that Jack thought only on getting out. A big slab of ice snapped off as he kicked his feet and tried to lever himself up. It tipped up, and Jack floundered about trying to stay on top of the water. The edge of the slab disappeared under the surface and partly slid back under the solid ice downstream. Jack managed to work his way to the solid edge, but he couldn't pull himself out. He thought more clearly now. He quit struggling.

Henry was out of the ice as far as he dared now. The coil of rope from his pack was in his hand. It had a monkey's fist knot in the end to add weight.

"Jack! I'm going to throw this rope to you! You've got to tie it around your waist! Tight!" Jack's face was distorted by the cold, but his head tipped in a nod. Henry threw the rope as he had been taught in the Navy. It passed over Jack's head and settled across his shoulder. Jack grabbed it and wound it around his waist the best he could. His hands were already losing their grip. He knew he wouldn't be able to do anything very long. The cold was unbearable!

As soon as the rope was secure, Henry backed up until he stretched the rope tight. Keeping it taut, he moved back across the big log he sat on a few seconds before. He flopped down in the snow on his back. "Jack! Get ready! I'm going to pull you up as far as I can, but you've got to help!" He began to pull while bracing himself against the log. Jack struggled against the ice feeling the rope strain against his body. He managed to kick a little, and inched his body up. The ice groaned, and he thought it would break again, but he had to keep working. The pressure on the rope increased, and he was dragged up on to solid ice. He started to try to get his feet under him and heard Henry yell, "Don't try to stand up! Roll! Roll! Roll toward me! He did, and after he made probably twenty feet, Henry yelled, "Take it easy, Jack! Try to get up on your hands and knees. That spreads your weight out. Don't trust the ice! It may break again! Crawl! You need to keep your weight spread out as much as possible!"

Another twenty feet, and his mind as numb as it was with the cold told him he was in shallow water, so he stood. For a moment, the world seemed to wobble about. Things slowly became clear, and he walked unsteadily, but very carefully to the shore. With Henry's help, he shucked off the rope on the way to the pickup. Henry helped him in, ran to the other side, jumped in and started the engine. He turned the heater up as high as it would go while he watched Jack shake.
"The motor is still hot, Jack. I think you'll be okay now. How do you feel?"

"I've never been so cold in my entire life!" He struggled with his wet mittens, grunting with every movement, but he was able to strip off his boots. It was slow work, and he panted heavily.

"You got feeling in you hands and toes?"

"Yeah! Too much! They hurt!" He was hunched in the seat now. "I'm sure messing up your truck, Henry." He looked apologetic.

"That's okay. It may have ice in the floor mats until the weather warms, but you're the only thing important to me right now."

Satisfied, Henry went back down to retrieve his rope and tackle. Then he returned and drove back to town. Jack was pretty warm by the time they pulled into a McDonald's and Henry ordered two large, black coffees. Jack smiled as Henry handed him one. "This isn't exactly the way I planned for this trip to end, Henry."

"Yeh. Me neither."

"I planned to brag about how many fish I caught while ribbing you about being too scared to go out on the ice." His eyebrows raised as he looked directly at Henry What will you brag about, Buddy?"

"Well, I'm not planning to brag about pulling you out of the water, if that's what's worrying you."

"Hmm... That's good to know... It relieves my mind a little. I feel pretty stupid right now... I think that would make me feel a lot worse."

"We are friends, right?"

"Bragging about that would not be friendly, would it?"


"Well, if I was going to brag, I wouldn't brag to anyone but the Lord because I almost didn't put that rope in my pack before I left the house. In fact, even after I did, I almost took it back out. Something told me it was better to be prepared than sorry. I think maybe the Lord was looking after you, Jack."

"I'm sure glad. Maybe I ought to listen to you more...Like when you talk about Jesus."

Henry turned to look at him sharply. He had witnessed to Jack ever since they were kids, but Jack always turned a deaf ear. Was he joking? One look, and he knew he wasn't. "Jack nothing would please me more than to know you would go to heaven when you die! I was thinking you wouldn't make it to heaven if I didn't get you out of that water!"

Jack's eyes dropped to the floor, "Henry, I didn't think about that until I sat here in the truck watching you go back down to get that rope. All I could think of was, Henry brought that rope for me... Don't give up on me now. I'm ready to listen."


This simple story illustrates how fragile life is and how quickly it can be lost. Beyond that, it is a reminder that the best time to prepare for emergencies is in advance. We know every life will have them, and we cannot safely predict when. Personally, I think God could have decided to take every person into heaven as he is, but He chose to give of Himself I believe for a very special reason. He wants us to be like Him, not because He forced us, but because we freely commit our lives to Him. Jesus died for His enemies, and that includes you and me. He gave that supreme gift of Himself, so that we can see God's way, and receive salvation by uniting with Jesus. We don't do that as equals, we do it as abject sinners, or we don't do it at all. When we wholeheartedly accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, Romans 8:16,17 says, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." The safe thing is to give yourself without reserve to Jesus now, and then you will discover true greatness is being God's own child!


At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I had heard most of your stories over the years, Daddy. I was wrong. This is a great one to show the transient life we live ! Love you.


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