Grab the Rope

How many have thrown up their hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success?

-Elbert Hubbard


White water rafting down the Nanthahala River in North Carolina was our idea of a fun vacation. A friend owned a cabin in the mountains and made it available to us on occasion. Daniel and Issac, our two oldest boys, loved being on the river but there was a problem; we all had to help take care of baby Erica. We worked out a system so each of us could tackle the Nanthalala. I kept the baby while Nancy and the boys rafted. Nancy watched the baby while the boys and I conquered the river. Daniel watched little Erica while Isaac, mom and I went down the river. There were a few glitches, but the system worked.

“Nancy,” I yelled as the swift current swept us under the low hanging limbs, “You and Isaac have got to paddle harder!” Nancy yelled back, “We’re paddling as hard as we can!” “It’s not enough; you’ve got to do better!” The sound of the thrashing rapids drowned our voices as we yelled at each other. I kept asking the crew to give more; they insisted that there was no more to give. There was nothing else to do except duck.


“Paddle harder!” I screamed. “We can’t!" Nancy yelled back. We fought valiantly but were swept under the trees again. Nancy’s life jacket got tangled in a limb and she was thrown out. Frantically, she battled the freezing current. I was trying to get out of the trees so I could help her. She began to move closer to the raft; I yelled, “Grab the rope! Grab the rope!” A safety line was attached to the edge of the raft. Nancy thought I was saying, “Get in the boat!” The more I yelled at her the more frustrated she became. We drifted out of the trees and I was able to lean over the side, grab her hand and pull Nancy into the raft.


After a few minutes of calm we could see more rapids ahead. I shouted, “Paddle! Paddle harder!” My crew found new strength and energy from somewhere inside and we glided down the river without another mishap. It felt as though someone had attached a fifty-horse Evinrude to our craft. Lou Vickery comments on the lesson we learned that day, “Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more.” There is more available than we have touched. Reach for it through relationship with Jesus and don’t sell yourself short. You need not languish in helplessness; let the God of Grace pull you out of the chilly rapids of despair through the power of His great love.

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