This is a story about a boy who turned into an amazing Father.
A boy who was thrilled to be with his dad for his 15th birthday on a trip to Canada.
My man. My husband.
A story I have heard told at camps and children’s activities every year since we first met, 33 years ago. A story that can make kids of all ages quiet and wide eyed, no matter how large the group, because that boy got lost in the most remote part of Canada you could imagine. He thought he was going to die, but God had other plans....
He was the youngest in the group so he was chosen to do the walking while the older men canoed with the rest of their supplies.
His father gave him instructions on exactly how to get there and which path to take but in his young mind, as he looked at the way ahead he misunderstood the geography and took the wrong path. He thought he knew what he was doing. It didn’t take long to realize his mistake yet each time he looked ahead he was sure the lake was just beyond the trees so he continued on... and on and on, another row of trees, then another.
Soon he was running as fast as he could, trying to find his way out. Six hours went by. He could not hear any human voices. Temperatures were dropping to below freezing and night was coming. Fresh bear signs were everywhere and that boy knew in his heart that he would not be found.
He was going to die.
So there in those cold, wet woods as the rain was pouring down, he knelt in the aching silence and called out to his Heavenly Father. And he prepared to die.
With a new resolve and a peace in his heart, he got back up and began walking again. After what seemed like several more hours he came upon a lake and after walking completely around it he found a canoe on shore that belonged to his group~ but for fear of losing his way again, he got into the canoe and began to paddle.
The activity warmed him up and he knew that if he was in the canoe, surely someone would spot him when they returned for it. But after a while that didn’t seem likely either and his heart got heavy.
Hypothermia was setting in.
At first he thought how angry his dad would be with him when he found him, but then He thought about his dad finding his remains and the sadness it would bring him.
He thought about how much his dad loved him.
When it seemed like all hope was lost, he heard his name being called. “Michael...Michael”. So faint he almost missed it, but there it was again.
He called back-“Dad! Dad!” But then the voice got farther and farther away and sadness gripped his heart once more.
The silence was almost deafening but then again, he heard his name. His heart began to race as he called back~ over and over and over~ and through the dark, thick woods his father came running. He didn’t stop at the shore,
he ran right into that freezing water and he grabbed that boy and wept. And that boy wept with him.
“I didn’t think I would ever see you again” his dad cried.
Apparently the group had notified the Canadian Mounted police of Mike’s disappearance and the next morning they came by to see if he had been found. They sadly reported that it had been a bad year with bears and 4 more adult men went missing the day before and were never rescued.
My husband cannot tell that story without crying. Every time he recalls his father’s embrace the tears flow. I can see it in my mind as if I were there and I can’t help but think how much this is a story about all of us in some way or another.
We become a Christian and love our Heavenly Father so much that we want to please Him in all we do but somehow along the way, we lose our way and we think we know which path to take.
Instead of asking our Father for help or looking for direction from His Word, we think we know better and we continue on until we are completely lost and without Him. Alone and scared.
Some of us might realize deep down how sad this makes our Heavenly Father. Some of us might even think we have been lost too long and we can’t face Him for fear He is angry with the paths that were taken and the decisions that were made.
My friend, when you feel as if you are surrounded by tears and all alone, your Heavenly Father is calling out to you through the darkness, and He won’t stop calling your name until He hears you call back. He will not give up on you and when He hears your voice calling back to Him, He will run to you. He will hold you and weep tears of joy.
There will be no anger but only love.
This is the story of love. This is the story of a Father’s love~one that Christ Himself told. A story we all need to remember.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
Matthew 7:11 KJV
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38 & 39 KJV