July 1, 2004
by Ruth Bell Graham
We were out on a boat years ago when Bill and our son-in-law Stephan decided to go swimming. They lowered the ladder and started down. In his mid-sixties, Bill was still as trim as a 30-year-old, but he moved as slowly and stiffly as a 90-year-old.
"I'm getting old," he said as he looked carefully for the next rung. "It's harder to move all the time. I'm getting so stiff."
Rung by difficult rung he slowly lowered himself into the water. Finally he and Stephan leisurely and blissfully swam.
My daughter Gigi and I were watching from the upper deck. Suddenly I saw a long, thin shadow moving swiftly through the clear, deep water toward the swimmers.
"Bill!" I shouted. "There's a barracuda!"
Zip! He was up that ladder in nothing flat, losing 50 years in a second!
God often uses sudden danger to move us. The handful of early believers were commissioned by Jesus to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. They met daily in the temple in Jerusalem to worship and praise God—until Stephen was stoned to death, and they were scattered. Persecution had begun. But so had the fulfillment of the Great Commission. By unexpected means God frequently makes possible the impossible by motivating the unmotivated.