Stokes Bay
Last night we had some of the newbies over for dinner. Pam made some yummy curry, and after a delightful meal we eased back and told each other some stories about our families and our travels. Amy told us about a friend who had a unique experience that demonstrated the power of prayer, and in response I shared this one.

When our kids were small we used to rent a cottage up on the Bruce Peninsula on Barrow Bay. The scenery was lovely, but if you know Georgian Bay you know that the water is always cold. But no matter, as ten miles across the peninsula was Stokes Bay, a lovely little cove on Lake Huron where the water is shallow and warm and there is a sandy beach and shade near the shore.

That day was particularly nice. Our favourite spot under a tree was free, the air and the water were pleasant and warm, and the kids were just a delight. We spent the entire day just running and splashing through the water, building sandcastles and having a picnic lunch in the shade. It was so nice we hated to leave, and dragged out our departure until everyone else had gone and the beach was deserted.

As I gathered up my clothes I realized that my car keys were not in my blue jeans or the backpack and I recalled that when we had arrived I had put them in the pocket of my bathing suit! A cold dread came over me, and the most pleasant sunny spot you can imagine became suddenly dark and threatening. The sun was going down. Shortly now it would be dark and there was ten miles of back road through forest to safety. In growing alarm I waded out into the water and looked at the nearly five acres we had frolicked in and I could feel both terror and despair creep into my soul. How would I ever find my keys in all of this?

I didn’t even know where to begin, so I bowed and prayed. I said, “Lord, I have been an absolute idiot. I am responsible for three tiny children and my failure to be careful has put them at risk. Please help me find my keys, and don’t allow my children to suffer for my foolishness.” Then with my head still bowed I opened my eyes, and there at my feet, between my toes, lay my keys! They were not even obscured by sand, but looked as if someone had just placed them there a moment ago. I didn’t have to take a single step; I just reached down and picked them up. That is the power of prayer.

People with no experience of God often ask how Christians can believe in a God that is so obviously uninterested in mankind; who is so distant and aloof. The answer is simple: we don’t. We believe in a God who is as real as you are, whose Spirit is a constant comfort, who listens to our every prayer and treats us each day like His family. I’m sure that some of you will rationalize this little story with words like ‘luck’ or ‘circumstance’, and if you want to go on kidding yourself and being deliberately blind to the greater reality all around you, that is your choice. But please don’t prattle on to Christians with your silly nonsense about a distant and uninterested God. That’s not who He is, and for you to think so is as foolish as a man who forgets his responsibilities to his children and goes swimming with keys!