A CHRISTMAS EVE RESCUE
Psalm 124:2-5 (NKJV)
“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side……..
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.”
These verses bring to mind an experience that I had as a child. It was Christmas Eve on a sultry hot African morning. Mom woke my elder sister, Suzanne and I just as the sun was making its appearance on the horizon and told us that we were going with Dad, to take the 4 hour trip to Rufaro Mission Station that was under my parents care. Dad was taking supplies to the mission school and checking that all was well. We leaped out of bed in anticipation as we knew this would be a fun filled day. I loved going to Rufaro mission station; it had been my home for many years and I knew every nook and cranny of the rocky outcrops that were a paradise for a little red-headed gal who had a vivid imagination! Snakes, scorpions and all sorts of other creepy wonders abounded among the rocks, which only added to the thrill of my explorations! Mom packed us a picnic lunch to eat once we arrived at the mission station and promised a lovely hot meal would be waiting in the evening upon our return.
Once we arrived Dad immediately began to unload supplies plus we had some Christmas treats to give to the workers and children. We noticed brooding storm clouds begin to roll on the horizon but really did not pay attention to them. We downed our lunch with relish, picked fruit from the orchard to take home and then headed out on the four hour return journey home.
By now the heavens had opened and we were driving through a typical summer African thunderstorm. There were several small towns between the mission station and our home. As we approached the one town the low level bridge which spanned the river, had rising flood water lapping right under the bridge and soon it would be covered by the raging torrent. We still had another bridge to cross which concerned Dad to no extent.
Flash floods were a common occurrence in the hot rainy season and none of our bridges were high level bridges. On the other side of the town of Enkeldorn, we rounded a corner and there before our eyes was a sight that would instill fear in the bravest heart. The river had come down in flood and was rushing at least 5 feet deep across the bridge.
Christmas Eve and we were trapped between two flooded rivers with absolutely no way to communicate with Mom why we had not come home!
It was not long and other cars began to line up on the road – we were all in the same plight. It looked as though we all were going to spend the night, sleeping in our cars and in many cases with no food and very little water.
Finally the torrential rain stopped and soon strangers became friends, little camp-fires sprung up beside the stranded cars and people were sharing their meager supplies with each other.
We were stranded a mere two hour drive from home- so close yet so far and no lines of communication available to let the waiting families know whether we were safe or not!
For Suzanne and me this was a great adventure but Dad knew that Mom would be very worried.
Around midnight those of us huddled around our little camp fires heard a shout over the sound of the rushing water. A farmer had arrived with a span of oxen and as soon as the waters had receded enough over the bridge, so as to not totally submerge our vehicles, he would hitch a car to the oxen and with a brave man leading the oxen pull the cars through. Slowly one by one, with each vehicle being pulled by the oxen, we made the treacherous crossing. The flood waters rushed against the sides of the car and even over the hood but the oxen’s feet were sure and pulled us to safety and dry ground. Finally around 4:00 AM Christmas day we pulled into our driveway to the waiting arms of our mother – it was good to be home!
The Psalmist David speaks in these verses of the overwhelming waters in his own life. (Psalm 124)
David was a man of many profound experiences and he knew what it was to have the flood waters of trial dash against his noble soul. Yet David knew the source of his strength and help came from the Lord who was his constant companion!
The Lord is ever by the side of His own. God is our protector and defender from all cunning and malicious foes. We may be tossed about by swirling flood waters but we will never be submerged. These turbulent waters can represent floods of opposition, reproach, temptation, sin and suffering beating against our frail boat. BUT, our comfort is in the Lord who has promised to always be at our side and be our helper.
There is a three fold promise in Psalm 124 for you and I to embrace:
Note the testimony of the JUST: “The Lord was on our side…” (Verse 2)
Note the triumph of the PRESENT: “Our soul has escaped…” (Verse 7)
Note the trust for the FUTURE: “Our help is in the name of the Lord…” (Verse 8)
With such a three fold promise we should never yield to defeat or despair! Let the proud waters roar, let the wicked enemies gnash their teeth and the satanic hunter do his utmost to trap us, WE WILL NOT FEAR FOR GOD IS EVER OUR SHIELD AND FORTRESS!