The Great Mystery - Knowing the Deep Unknown


By Kimberly Bloom
January/February 2014

 

God calls us to have faith---sometimes it is the only human thing we can do.  There are times when we experience nature and God reveals His faithfulness to us.  Sometimes God asks you to face this life head-on with a faith trusting that God was, is, and will be faithful to you; God will shoulder you when you are in your most extreme times of distress.  You can be assured God will stand in all His power, holding you up to face life’s difficult challenges.  The natural world that surrounds us is Gods most magnificent tool displayed that reminds us that we can be stronger in His presence. 

Bound to a Promise is such a story that is the true life story of Bonnie Floyd.  Bonnie had nothing but her faith to carry her as she stepped out onto the crushing waters of tragedy. Bonnie’s faith saw her thru her deepest pain.  God also gives each of us a measure of faith—it is up to each of us to trust God and allow our faith to be enlarged.

Into the unknown we can call upon God to be our sovereign guide.  Floyd did just that when her adventuress father and step-mother along with friends were viciously tortured and murdered while sailing the beautiful waters of Barbuda.  Bonnie’s faith while facing her nightmare reminds us that each of us can trust God with our faith, when our feet fail, the waters are turbulent, when a mountain looks too steep to climb, and when our heads are barely above the waves.

Here is an excerpt: 

A Buoy Marked the Spot

One evening after dinner, I sat for hours with Beverly in the Ciboney
Lounge at the Halcyon, sharing stories about Tom, Dad, and Mom and
how hard it was trying to live without them. Beverly mentioned to me that
John wanted to fly over to Barbuda before they had to leave to go home and
asked me if I wanted to join them. Apparently there was a buoy anchored
out in Low Bay marking the spot where Challenger had been moored that
fateful night. I had thought about going over there, but after Donnie left, I
did not think I could get my favorite detective/bodyguard to take me, and
I knew better than to even think about going alone.

Two days later I found myself sitting on the tarmac at V. C. Bird International
Airport in an old rickety twin-prop airplane, getting ready to take
off for Barbuda with the Williamses. I guess Jim thought it would be safe,
and I’m sure he was thrilled to hand over the reins on me to John for the
day.

The flight over to Barbuda was . . . well . . . umm, let’s just say I was glad
it was only a fifteen-minute flight. It was rough!

John Fuller took care of all the arrangements for us. I knew John was
one of the most prominent men on Antigua, but what I did not know was
that his influence had spilled over to Barbuda as well. We were met at the
airport and driven across the island to the lagoon where a man and his
young daughter were waiting to take us to Low Bay. That sweet little girl
was a needed distraction on the short trip across the lagoon as tensions
mounted in the apprehension of actually seeing the spot that marked the
place where Criddy, Tom, Dad, and Mom had breathed their last.

A peninsula about one hundred fifty yards wide separates the lagoon
from Low Bay. I honestly do not know if the little cutie and her daddy left
and came back for us or just stayed on the lagoon side of the peninsula and
waited, because once my feet hit the sand, my mind was consumed with
thoughts of life, death, beauty, and ashes.

Together the three of us crossed over to Low Bay. Breathtaking and
beautiful sand beaches line both sides of the peninsula, but crossing over
from the lagoon to Low Bay was a bit tricky. We had to walk through kneehigh
bushes with thorns the size of horns. There were mangrove trees overhead
that provided plenty of driftwood stuck in the sand to trip us up along
the way. When we finally made it through and looked up, it was a sight to
behold. No wonder Barbuda is called “the pink jewel of the Caribbean.” It
was also very clear to me why Dad and Mom had chosen this island paradise
to sail to for their vacation.

The coral reefs that surround the island have created a champagne color
of sand that glows rose because of the crushed coral mixed in the sand. If
I looked one way, the sand was silky white, and when I turned my head,
it changed to a hue of pink. The remoteness was luxurious; there was no
human-generated noise, only the sound of the ocean breeze and the waves
breaking on the shore. The sea was the most beautiful clear turquoise color
I had ever seen. I stood there in awestruck wonder of it all.

At that moment, I was the only soul on that beach, lost in my thoughts.
I had forgotten I was with John and Beverly, and when I looked around for
them, I saw that they, too, were lost in their own individual thoughts. Beverly
was sitting in the sand close to the surf as it gently rolled in and out. She
was positioned directly in line with the buoy marking Challenger’s mooring.
The buoy was much farther out than I expected it to be. There were
no boats in the bay, and we were the only three people on the entire beach.

I was quite a ways down from Beverly, but I could not find John anywhere
on the beach in either direction. I stood with my face to the sea
and breathed in deeply, looking out to the buoy and imagining Challenger
moored there. I saw the sails down, the dinghy tied off at the stern with
three men relaxing up on deck. I could see my mom coming up from the
galley with a bottle of champagne and four glasses and . . .
My wonderful imagining was interrupted when I caught a glimpse of
something far out in the water. When I focused in, I realized it was John.
He was swimming out to the buoy! And I thought, Oh, John, the buoy is
too far out there. You’re too upset to swim that far; you’ll never make it there and back!

In urgency, I looked over at Beverly and found her mesmerized, watching
John. I instantly knew in my heart that he was swimming for her too.


The Promise and a Handful of Wonder

At that moment I thought, I want to go out there too, and before I knew it,
I found myself just walking out into the water, not even in the direction of
the buoy. The farther I walked out into the ocean, the deeper my sorrow
grew. The pain of losing my parents came rushing back as strong as the day
I lost them, maybe even stronger. My head hurt, my heart ached, and my
body began to tremble. I just kept walking farther and deeper out to sea.
The pain in my heart hurt so badly, I wanted to die. The water was up to
my chest when I suddenly remembered the night I asked Dad to promise
me that he would call upon the name of Jesus, if he ever feared for his life.
I remembered his words; I remembered his promise.

I began to panic, worried that, if he had not kept his promise, I would
never see him again, and worse yet, if he was not in heaven with Jesus, he
was in . . . I began to shake violently; the water was up to my neck by now. I
could not bear the thought of my dad spending eternity in hell. It was more
than I could endure; I’d rather die.

I tasted saltwater pouring into my mouth, and I considered for a moment
just continuing to walk, allowing the sea to consume me, but something
welled up inside, and I began to weep uncontrollably. My weeping turned
into wailing, and I began to shake my fist in the air, crying out to Dad,
asking him if he’d kept his promise to me. My sorrow turned to anger, and
with my fist still in the air, I yelled at Dad, no longer asking but telling
him that he had better have kept his promise! With seawater choking me, I
realized I was no longer yelling at Dad, but at God, because Dad’s promise
meant absolutely nothing if God does not keep His promise through Jesus
to save all mankind.

I began to back up to get a foot on the sand below me, because the
amount of water filling my mouth was keeping me from being able to shout
at God. “If You don’t keep Your promises, then what kind of God are You?”
I cried out uncontrollably.

“You have to keep Your promise, God. You have to! You said Your
promises are true. If I can’t trust You, then my life means nothing to me,
and I’d rather die right here.”

At that hopeless thought, I gave up and began to sink down into the
sea. Living without knowing for certain was no option for me. If God is not
bound to His promises, then calling on Jesus meant nothing. But if God’s
promises are “yes” in Christ, then I was about to go to heaven and be with
Him and Dad, and that was just fine with me.

Suddenly a tangible peace as real as the waves that were hitting my face
washed over me, and I began to back up. I looked up into the purest blue
sky I had ever seen and inherently and instinctively knew for certain that
my God is faithful in all He does and trustworthy in all He promises. As I
made my way back to the beach, a feeling of thankfulness swept over me. I
was thankful for the absolute certainty that my dad had kept his promise,
but even more significant, thankful for the assurance that my God had kept
His.
                               Copyright 2013 by Bonnie Floyd, used by permission.

As you plan your outdoor adventures remember to ask God to lead you –pack your faith, and your willingness to be made stronger while engaging nature.  Allow God to take you out of your comfort zone, fellowship with those you don’t know, and absorb a deeper knowledge of who God is to you.  You won’t be disappointed.

Bonnie Floyd was not disappointed by her faith in God; she learned that God was not taken by surprise by her parent’s death.  People make wrong choices – But God is sovereign.  When we face heartache, disappointment and injury, God will get each of us to the other side of pain. We need only to stay focused on Him. God was Bonnie’s guide. He led her out of an unimaginable nightmare.  What was meant for evil, God used for good. Today, Bonnie’s ministry proclaims a strong message of faith.

The great mystery is that God wants to use you this year – outdoors. Surrender your will and allow God to grow your faith. Remove the borders that you and others create that trap your faith from growing. Seek God and He will give you opportunities through your outdoor pursuits to bring hope, joy, forgiveness and love to others.

How? It could be along a grueling trail when someone is struggling next to you. You can be the one that brings that critical word of encouragement and a drink of water.  Perhaps you’ll find yourself in the clear beautiful waters of the Caribbean. There, in a moment you couldn’t anticipate someone next to you may be gripped by fear of going deeper. You can be the one that takes his or her hand and gives comfort and guidance. You may be in a foreign country next to someone who is struggling to make it to the top of steep steps of ancient ruins. Be attentive, slow your pace and take time to be an encouragement until both of you reach the summit together. You could be the one that God uses to go ahead of others to prepare a safe journey. It begins when you yield to God, become aware of His presence and trust Him.

When you venture into your deep unknown and you can no longer touch the familiar don’t be surprised by what God can do in your life. God is not surprised by what you can do by trusting Him with every ounce of faith you can muster.  

Take a minute and absorb God's greatness while listening to Oceans from Hillsong UNITED.

 

 

 

About the Author

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  • Kimberly_Bloom's picture

    Kimberly Bloom writes for Lifestyle Media Group on topics of character education, family and faith. Her favorite outdoor activities are hiking, gardening, and anything else that gives her time outside with family and friends. She enjoys reading and recommends Bonnie Floyd’s book Bound To A Promise. She lives in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia with her family.

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