Do you know what it feels like to be desperate?
I was eleven or twelve and we were camping at Fish Lake, West of Nordegg. We kids discovered that the trail South out the back of our campsite led to a small, but much more fun lake. We had built a raft out of deadfall and were having a hoot. I don’t remember which of us came up with the idea that we could move the raft better if one of us got in the water with flippers on, but I was dispatched to run back to the campsite and retrieve them.
When I was dropped off on shore I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to put my shoes on for the few hundred yards to the campsite and back so I slipped my feet into my younger brother’s rubber boots which were two sizes too small and which my feet didn’t go all the way into. I ran, as best I could in the too small rubber boots and my red speedos (don’t laugh, all the kids were wearing them back then), back to our campsite and rushed in, breathlessly explaining to mom our plan as I grabbed the flippers and raced back down the trail.
In my hurry I missed the fork in the trail that stayed true and instead followed the one that gradually drifted away till I was headed much more west than south. When I hadn’t reached the lake in what I sensed should have been enough distance, my mind refused to believe it. I convincing myself that I recognized this tree or that bend in the trail and that any second I’d see the blue of the lake through the trees trying at the same time to ignore the growing hole in my gut that fear creates.
I finally saw blue but my relief turned to desperation when I broke into the clearing and realized I had come across nothing more than a large slough. I finally admitted to myself that I was lost. I even climbed a tree hoping to catch a glimpse of the lake I was trying to find, but all I saw was more trees. I think that was when I first yelled for help as loud as I could, “DAAAD!!”
Romans 8:15 encourages us to cry out to God. I don’t think most of us “cry” out to God. The original word is an onomatopoeic word imitating the loud cry of a raven. It means to scream, to loudly call out. If you haven’t ever cried out to God, in fact if you aren’t crying out to him daily, then you’re still on the trail convincing yourself you’ve got it under control and just around the next bend it will all come together.
When we get desperate we’ll quit relying on our own strength, cry out to God and allow his strength to work in us and then through us.
ps. I’m assuming you’ve figured out I was eventually found.