On a recent vacation that my beautiful wife an I were blessed to take, we came across a shark while we were snorkeling. When we arrived back to the hotel we were staying at, we mentioned this fact to one of the maids that asked how our day had gone so far. As we told her about the shark encounter, she was surprised and asked if we were afraid when we saw it. My reply, which was reiterated by my wife, was no, not really, for we know that the Lord is always watching over us, (Prov. 15:3) and we saw it as a blessing that we were able to get so close to it. Now, I did not think it necessary to inform her that my inquisitive wife has actually tried to reach out and touch the large creature, something I was fairly sure that she would attempt to do, while I was quite comfortable just to take some photos of the twelve foot fish, thank you very much.
What struck me though was the maids response when we mentioned that in all areas of our lives, as best as our feeble human attempts will allow us to, we trust in God, for she said that if we put ourselves into precarious positions, we are on our own. This struck me as an odd thing to say for we had just spent a small part of the previous day talking with her about her own walk with the Lord.
It caused me to wonder, are we continuously under the protection of the Lord, or is it possible, through our own mistakes, or forgive me for phrasing it this way, through our own stupidity, to cause incidents in our lives that remove us from the shadow of His wings. There is no such thing as luck, chance or coincidence for the child of God, but can we by our own non-predetermined paths place ourselves in an area where we are not under the Lords protection. Did the Lord tell the shark not to bite my wife?
Several weeks ago, we went shopping for a small scale to weigh certain food products, and we decided to have some lunch at a restaurant in the town we were in before beginning our search for this item. As it happened, there were no toothpicks at the place we ate lunch at, and by the time we had entered the store to search for the scale, I really wanted a toothpick to relieve myself of the food particle that was trapped between my teeth. We had the option of three different scales, and guess which one we chose? The small, least expensive one with the single, unused, new toothpick laying right on top of it. Did the Lord tell the shark not to bite my wife?
We can all be quite sure that if we pre-plan something that is against the Word and Will of the Lord, when we willingly decide to sin against Him, we will suffer consequences, and rightly so, for disobedient children cannot be allowed to continue in disobedience, but what about the circumstances that require either a split-second decision, or are acted on with no fore-thought whatsoever.
Think if you will for a moment on Elijah in 1st Kings 18, the 850 false prophets had just been killed, he had ran faster than a horse all the way back to Jezreel, but in a moment of doubt, an evil queen says just a few words to him and he runs all the way to Beersheba, and then another day into the desert. How did his confidence waver so quickly, why would he believe Gods protection which he had just incredibly experienced would not continue for him. Perhaps the reason lies in why he ran all the way back to Jezreel in the first place, faster than the horses, perhaps a false sense of self-righteousness entered into his heart after the ordeal with the prophets, I do not know.
“Thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test.” (Deut. 6:16) From snake handlers to those with whom self-assurance has found a root of growth within their hearts, Gods sovereign protection must never, in any way be put to the test. Our Lord loves it when we seek His guidance for our lives, He adores it when we ask for His protection, and we must always be seeking His will for our lives, but we are never, once we have trusted Him as Sovereign Lord, to put Him to any type of test, nothing from us that says to Him, “Prove to me you are still real, that you are still there for me.” That should have been replaced with “Thy will be done” a long time ago.
If I reach my hand out to a large, growling dog, I will more than likely need several dozen stiches, and it would be my own fault, for we have all been blessed with common sense, the lost as well as the saved. But, if in a moment of rapt exhilaration my wonderful wife instinctively reaches out to touch one of her beloved sea creatures, does the hand of God reach down and close the mouth of the shark so that this beautiful woman in a moment of child-like exuberance does not lose the hand that caresses my neck in love? I believe so, yes, I truly do.
I mean no disrespect, but in that moment the trust that she had was the same trust that Daniel had right before he had a lion for a pillow one night, (Dan. 6) the same innocent trust that the little children had the day that our Lord Jesus sat them on His lap. (Matt. 19:14) There was no fore-thought in my wife’s mind of “I want to touch this shark Lord, so protect me,” there was nothing whatsoever in her that wanted to put the Lord to any kind of test, it was the simple innocence of a desire to reach out and touch something she saw as beautiful, and for that God will send every angel he has to protect that inquisitive child of His.
Yes, my friends, we can always expect His divine protection when in complete sincerity and innocence we put our trust in Him, (Matt. 18:3) for it shows a heart of pure and honest love for Him.
I will tell you this though, I did ask her to please try not to pet anymore sharks.