5 Hp Outboard Witness
The following is a true story of my time with my friend . . .
My very tall, barrel-chested, Army Ranger, paratrooper instructor, cage-fighter, grappling champion friend and I were walking down a long pier heading for my sailboat. You could describe him as a man’s man with a great sense of humor and some dark issues buried inside. He loved to fish and the plan was I would sail while he trolled for Saugeye–a cross between a Walleye and a Sauger. His plan was to fish; my plan was to see if the Lord would open him up to talk about some deep spiritual issues that were troubling him.
As we approached my old (bless her heart) 1980 O’Day 22 sailboat, I jokingly said, “As long as the motor starts, we’ll go sailing!” Stepping down into the cockpit, I glanced down to look at my old reliable 5 Hp long-shaft outboard motor and . . . it was gone! I always kept it chained to the boat with a hefty anchor chain and lock. I’d been locking it that way for over five years. By then, my friend caught up with me seeing the missing outboard motor, and I said, “Well, my wife and I have given the boat to the Lord, so for some reason, He allowed this to happen.”
To get to the open water, one has to motor a quarter of a mile through a narrow channel. My “man’s man” friend seriously said that he could make a rope harness, and I could tie the boat to him and he would swim it out to open water! I appreciated the offer, and I’m sure he could have done it, but the prevailing winds typically blew through the channel in the direction of the open water. I told him we would probably make it out, but the wind would be too much for him to swim the boat back. Besides, if something happened to him, I didn’t want to go to the trouble of having to winch the big fella out of the water with my mainsheet halyard!
I suggested we go to the other side of the lake where there were some picnic tables and the entrance to a river where he could fish. Before leaving, I called the park police and reported the stolen motor and then grabbed my grill that hung off the stern railing. We drove to the other side of the lake. While he fished, I piled some rocks on the picnic table by the river to hold my grill up since it didn‘t have legs, and grilled chicken, potato patties, and worked on a salad. We had spent time together before and I knew he was a big eater, so I came prepared. When I called him over to eat, his Styrofoam plate was piled so high with food that the edges were cracking! You should have seen him smile!!
While eating, he started talking. At first, it was general fishing talk, complaining that he didn’t even get a bite. Then he got on to how bad he felt for me that my outboard motor had been stolen. I assured him it was in the Lord’s hands, and I wasn’t worried about it at all! At that point he grew more quiet and started talking about personal things. When he said, “You know, I’ve never told anybody this before . . . ,” I knew then the Lord was at work, and he opened his heart up and we talked and prayed about his issues.
I wondered later how different things might have been if I had gotten mad and angry over the stolen motor. My joy is in the Lord, and not in my stuff. Praise the Lord that the enemy didn’t steal away this precious time with my friend. Amen? Amen!!
Post Script: With all three daughters in college, I wasn’t able to put much money aside for a new motor. I did manage to save about half of what I needed by the end of the fall when it came time to pull the boat out of the water. I was praying about this because I needed a motor to get my boat to the launch. One day during this time, I was over at my father’s house, and out of the blue, he reminded me of something that had happened fifteen years before. I had forgotten all about it! He said, “It was my fault, and it’s been bothering me for a long time, so I’ll give you the rest of the money you need for your motor.” And he did! PTL–now I have a nice new outboard motor!
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” –2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV
Copyright © 2010 by William D. (Nick) Nichols