A Picture/Word for Cape Cod, March 1, 2011


After reading the email from the GOG google group about the believer in Egypt who was led by the Lord to safety and his flight to Paris, I decided to send along the impression I had during prayer at the meeting at Barnstable High in February. I didn't send it earlier because it came in a different way, in the form of a story, and I wasn't sure what to do with it.

Several years ago I felt the Lord showed me a picture of many small boats off the coast of Cape Cod, facing the land at night. People in the boats were holding lanterns. I didn't understand the picture and filed it in the "wait and see" bin. The experience at BHS started with that picture and built onto it. The "story" is as follows:

There was a land surrounded on three sides by water. Over the years some of the people pushed off in small boats into the deep waters beyond, where they waited patiently and pondered the motion of the sea, feeling its great weight and deep beauty pushing up against the bottoms of their boats and slapping their sides. They learned its rhythms, its colors, its intersect with the wind and rain,with storm and calm.

In each boat were only a lantern and a small coil of rope, thin and slick.

A time of great hardship came upon the land, whether of fire or flood or famine I do not know. Great numbers of people ran to the sea, crying in desperation, wringing their hands, and wading into the rolling waves. As darkness fell they saw the lanterns in the little boats, lit and held aloft by the figures within. They surged deeper into the dark waters, crying out.

Then those in the boats threw out their coils of rope, while those in the water grasped them tightly and, hand over hand, pulled themselves towards the bobbing boats. The sailors held high the lanterns, shouting encouragement to those not yet near enough to pull aboard.

Those in the water called to them, "Do you have another rope? This one is so narrow and slick."

"No, for this rope is Jesus, and there is no other by which to save you. Yet it is strong and will serve you well if you only hold to it."

Still, many let go the rope and sank, while others began to use it to find their way in the darkness back to shore. Yet the rope held small barbs that opened out and cut into the skin when it was so used, so that they found it impossible to return to that desperate place, and these people turned back again to the boats, pushed towards safety in spite of themselves.

When those people were in this way brought near to the boats, they saw how unlike wood boats they were, being made of some thick, supple material shaped like long, interwoven leaves. Thusformed, the boats moved with the waves, the leaves moving even beneath the feet of those sitting within in a continual reshaping to the motion of the water. Still the boats were not unsteady or turbulent, for they were made of prayer, prayer cast upon the deep waters of the Lord, prayer that shaped itself to the will and the wondrous glory of the One who creates all for his purposes.

Some of the boats could hold only its sailor, some one passenger, and some even two or three more. And into these boats clambered the lost and desperate souls from the land now uninhabitable. They fell exhausted against those leafy planks and slept, rocked by the mighty sea, safe within such little arks as they had not even known were there before the day of trouble, and now embarked on a journey entirely different from what they had imagined as recently as the day before.

There is nothing new about the need for prayer. I do feel, however, that the Lord wants us to recognize that the time for prayer born from an intimate relationship with Jesus is upon us. I sense an urgency for the Lord's people on Cape Cod to develop the ability to hear him clearly, to know him intimately, and to take the time we have and use it wisely, as good stewards, to learn to move with the Lord.

Regular boats ride in the water but are solid; they use the water to float in. The boats in the story are supple; they move WITH the water, they respond TO the water, and this movement is not disorienting to those who have been moving out into the ways of the Lord, represented by the dark waters--the "mystery" of God, revealed in Christ, often unseen, but nevertheless powerful and sustaining Life to those who believe and follow.

One reason that developing the ability to discern through prayer the presence of the Lord and how He is moving is that here it is directly related to salvations; our "boats" will hold those who will be desperate for salvation in a time of turmoil. While the boats are aware of each other (unity of the churches on the Cape?), what we will offer them is Jesus alone.

In short, I believe a time of harvest is coming, and the Lord, in His graciousness, wants us to be prepared to partner with Him, to our joy and His glory. May we be a people who respond to his invitations as they are given.

Respectfully offered for discernment,

Gayle Heaslip