Note: This article and others that appeared recently here first were published in The Pentecostal Evangel, and will be part of a book soon to be released.
By Ada Nicholson Brownell
The orange rubber raft loaded with three men and a small boy churned with the foaming rapids. Suddenly the convulsing waves flipped the occupants into the turbulent water.
Don choked as the currents sucked him under. He panicked as he thought of his little boy, Gerald, but reasoned the boy would be OK because he had a lifejacket on.
Desperately the young father tried to swim, but the current was too powerful. His nostrils cried for air as his lungs pressured him for oxygen.
The waves tossed Don high enough to gulp a little air, then sucked him below again. His body slammed against the boulders. It seemed he couldn’t hold his breath a moment longer.
The young man was exhausted; his lungs ready to explode. He was about to give up his frantic fight with the river when his face rose able the surface again—this time long enough to see Gerald clinging desperately to a large rock, his life jacket barely hanging from one shoulder.
“Dad! Help!” Gerald screamed.
Don was sucked Don under again, but new strength flowed through his body. He had to get to Gerald.
Fighting the current with every muscle, he mentally cried for God’s help.
Suddenly he shot out of the swirling rapids and swam to his boy. He laid his son on the river bank, then collapsed at his side.
Fortunately a person on the shore had seen the raft overturn, and the other men were in the process of being rescued. Soon someone gave Don artificial respiration.
When an ambulance loaded up Don and Gerald, Don thanked God for life—and that he still had his son. He was glad he didn’t give up.
The salvation of many a boy can be credited to his father who didn’t give up. Not just his physical salvation, but spiritual also.
I remember a man whose son went through a period of rebellion that was about to destroy the boy’s relationship with God, as well as his relationship with his parents. But his father wouldn’t give up, even though it seemed the boy did everything to discourage him.
The father stood firm through it all—and at the same time showed his love. But most of all, he prayed.
Every evening after work, instead of relaxing while dinner was prepared, he went to the basement to pray. He wasn’t ashamed when he got so involved with talking to the Lord that everybody in the house heard him.
When he sat down to dinner, he didn’t care if his eyes were red from the tears he’s shed. All that mattered was his boy’s salvation.
In time the son’s rebellion changed to submission. Today he is a minister of the gospel.
Many boys are crying, “Dad! Help!” Maybe not in those words. To listen to their talk one might get the opposite impression. It may seem the last thing they want is help from their father. But the cry is there, though they won’t admit it.
Dad, your son needs you. Don’t give up. He’s fighting currents too strong for him. Perhaps his life vest is only hanging by a string. He could be in danger of “drowning” in the waves of sin.
You may feel you’ve struggled to the point of submission. You may think it’s hopeless, but hold on in faith. Keep praying. Keep loving. There’s strength and salvation to be found through Christ in every situation.
Believe with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me” (Philippians 4:13).
--THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, August 24, 1975