I know that prayers are always answered. Not always the way we want them to be, but they are answered. Our Father in Heaven is aware of our wants and needs. Over the weekend, I had the chance to teach this lesson to my daughter.
We were camping a couple hours from home on a lake. We own a rubber raft and an inflatable kayak and we had been out on the lake several times all ready. This time we were headed out because there is a spot in the middle of the lake where it is shallow and my daughter wanted to stand in the middle of the lake for a picture. We started from the moorage dock where my husband and oldest son were fishing. I noticed that there was a bit of breeze but it was a lovely, warm afternoon.
As we moved further towards the shallow part of the lake, I realized that it was windier than it looked for the moorage dock. The wind was making waves, and we were getting wetter in the raft than we usually do. We arrived at the spot where my daughter wanted to stand and inside I was hoping that she would decide she didn’t want to. I was worried that the wind would blow her over and she would get completely soaked and have a hard time getting back in the raft.
I sighed with relief when she said she didn’t want to get out. I decided then that we better head back to the dock. The wind was getting stronger and I was worried about having the strength to get us back. We started back when suddenly one of the pillows flew out and bounced across the water. Looking back, I should have left it, but I didn’t want to since it was a new raft. We went after it, the wind pushing us easily towards it. My daughter and my son grabbed it from the water and sat on it so it wouldn’t fly out again. I then started rowing back to the moorage dock.
I hadn’t realized how far the wind had pushed us across the lake. I rowed, and rowed but I was making no progress. The wind was too strong. If I stopped to rest for a moment, we were blown across the lake. I was losing energy, and starting to feel fear. Inside, I knew that we would be okay, but I was worried about getting us back. So, I kept rowing. I pushed myself harder and harder to get us across. Slowly though I became weaker and wasn’t getting us anywhere. All I was doing was keeping us from being pushed so quickly across the lake.
By this point, my daughter was praying. She prayed hard that I would have strength, and that the wind would stop. She was getting scared. My son didn’t seem worried and continued to stare down at the water. I asked my daughter to sing to me so I would be distracted from how much it hurt to keep rowing and fighting the strong winds.
Eventually, I realized there was no way I was going to get us back to the dock. Across the lake from the moorage dock was a private dock. I decided that my goal would be to get us there. We could call my brother that was in the local town and have him come pick us up. I started rowing that direction, praying hard that I would be able to do it. I was praying for help. My daughter was praying for the wind to stop, praying for me to have strength. The wind pushed us quickly into the edge of the lake many yards away from the private dock. The problem was, I couldn’t make the boat move toward the dock. My best option was to get out and walk the boat over to the private dock. I thought that since it was so shallow in the middle of the lake that it wouldn’t be very deep here on the edge of the lake. I handed my cell phone to my daughter and stepped out of the boat.
Much to my surprise, the lake was up to my shoulders (I’m 5’8” tall). The cold water pushed breath out of me, and with one hand of the boat, I tried to breathe and pull the boat to the dock. I was able to walk and swim the boat to the dock.
At last, we reached the private dock. It was slippery with algae, and I had no strength left to lift myself onto the dock. My daughter held onto the dock so that the boat wouldn’t drift while I pulled myself up. I panicked and screamed, which led to my daughter screaming for help. I asked her not to scream and to use her energy to hold to the dock. I was crying and praying. By now, my little boy was scared too and yelling over and over how someone needed to help us.
Finally I was able to get onto the dock (bruising the whole right side of my body in the process) and was able to get the kids on the dock. I reassured them and called my brother. I explained what happened and started up the dock, hoping I would be able to give him some direction to where we were.
Suddenly, I heard a motor boat. I turned back and there was my husband and a stranger coming towards us. The stranger helped my kids and me into the boat while my husband deflated the raft and put it in the boat. Then, this stranger took us back across the lake, back to the moorage docks, back to camp, back to safety.
I told my daughter that Heavenly Father had answered her prayer. She didn’t believe me, because the wind was still blowing and I didn’t have the strength to get us back. It was a great time for me to share my testimony that Heavenly Father is aware of us, and that He sent the boat to help us. He made sure that we were safe, and gave someone else an opportunity to give service. I know that the prayers of my daughter were heard. I know that my Father in Heaven is aware of our needs.
I hope this is an experience my daughter will remember ~ that He answers prayers. Not always how we want them answered, but always answered just the same.
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