“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV.

It was a warm summer day which my husband and I decided to spend at the lake with our two small boys, other family members, and friends. We had just bought a Jet Ski and wanted to try it out. Toward evening, I attached one end of the safety lanyard near the ski’s starter and would soon attach the other to my wrist—as soon as I’d placed my three-year-old son on the front of the seat, before settling in behind him. But before I could settle in and attach the lanyard to my wrist, my son grasped the handlebars and, unknowingly, pulled back the throttle. The Jet Ski flew across the lake! Frantically I tried to swim after him while my husband and a friend jumped on the remaining Jet Skis to pursue him. I watched helplessly as my little boy clung tightly to the handles speeding away at full throttle. I watched my husband’s and friend’s Jet Skis fall further and further behind. My child, now barely visible, suddenly turned (at a speed nearing fifty miles per hour) toward the steeply angled, tree-, stump-, and boulder-lined shore.

As I saw the danger that lay ahead, I knew that my boy's only hope lay in the hands of our dear Savior. My sister, my girlfriend, and I pled for my son’s life. My own prayer came from the heart of an inconsolable mother who knew it was her mistake that put her child's life in jeopardy. Soon, a sense of calm came over me as I gradually began to let go and "let God".

Then, between a large boulder and tree stump that was jutting up out of the water (the distance between them being only a few inches wider than the Jet Ski itself), the vehicle carrying my son glided right between them and up the steep embankment. There it stopped, teetering from the vertical incline. My little boy somehow managed to stay on the ski until his father and friend reached him and brought him down to safety, unscathed!

Throughout the following twenty-two years, my son's journey has taken different turns, sometimes along a good path and sometimes deviating down a wrong path. But God continues to hear my prayers for both of my children, and He continues to use the Jet Ski experience from so many years ago to comfort and reassure me that He has a plan for their lives. I encourage each of you to pray continually for your children. Never give up, and know that God never will either.

Terri Lutz

First published in Notes of Joy (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press), 2018.
Carolyn R. Sutton, editor