Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Wednesday, March 18
Read Psalm 9

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. (vv 9-10)


This scripture about seeking the Lord in times of trouble speaks to me in a very personal way. In the singing of “Eternal Father, Strong To Save,” I can relate to my own peril on the sea.

A near-tragic accident happened one May day approximately 35 years ago. One of my favorite pastimes that spring was fishing for walleye at Lake Wilson in north-central Kansas. My father-in-law Jeff also loved to fish, but he had never done so on Lake Wilson.

Jeff and my mother-in-law Ida, affectionately known as Granny, came to Russell for a visit so Jeff and I could fish Lake Wilson. My favorite method was to drift fish for walleye. Most times, windy days were the best times to catch walleye.

There was a good southeast breeze and excellent wave action on the lake. As the day progressed, the wind grew stronger, causing whitecaps. As we prepared to move to a different location, a large wave hit the back corner of the boat and caused Jeff to fall overboard. The weight of his body going over the side caused the boat to capsize. Neither of us had our life jackets on, a careless and near-fatal mistake.

I knew Jeff couldn’t swim.

My immediate thought was, “Oh, God, help us! Save Jeff!” By the time I surfaced, Jeff was struggling and panicking, with the waves pushing him away from me. I retrieved a boat seat cushion and swam toward him. I told Jeff I would shove the seat cushion to him so he could grab hold of it, which he did.

Knowing Jeff could now float, I turned to swim back to get a life jacket or seat cushion for myself. As I swam, I became exhausted. My life flashed through my mind. I feared drowning.

Out of nowhere came two men in a boat. They pulled me from the water. I was totally exhausted. The men said they had been on the other side of the lake and had seen us.

I am convinced that God saved Jeff and me when these two strangers came to our rescue. God was my rock. He was my stronghold in my time of trouble.

Larry D. Ehrlich

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