Don’t end up in the middle of the lake – Ask first


I’m not sure when it happened. Between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. I was probably in the house at the time.

This is the story as we’ve pieced it together, for better or worse. . . .

Some guys decided to fish in the lake in our backyard. That’s okay; we love that. If we know you. Or you’ve asked us. Or we’ve asked you.

But the first bad move is these folks, who weren’t asked or asking and whom we did not know, decided to fish anyway.

The second wrong decision is after their line got hung, they decided to go into the lake to recover it. In our flat-bottomed boat. Without permission.

The next mistake is upon discovering there were no paddles in the boat, instead of requesting to borrow ours in the house, they decided to make their paddles. Out of our footbridge. They tore out two boards and hopped in the boat.


What they didn’t know was that our boat has a leak. They couldn’t have been in it long before their feet were immersed. And not much longer before they had to row back to shore. Or else sink.

One bad decision often leads to another. When we start out doing the wrong thing, that path inevitably leads us to another wrong thing. And another.

Then before we know it, we’re in the middle of a lake in a leaky boat with old planks as paddles.

Don’t end up in the middle of a lake in a leaky boat with old planks as paddles.

If you want to fish, ask first.

Now when I look at our bridge, it reminds me to ask first for what I want.
For permission or help or guidance.

  • God, can I . . .?
  • Will you . . .?
  • Should I . . . ?

I don’t want one bad thing to lead to another.

“If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking.”
James 1:5 (CEV)

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.”
Matthew 7:7 (The Message)

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)

broken bridge

* * *

Do you typically ask directly for what you want? Why or why not? Please share.

45 thoughts on “Don’t end up in the middle of the lake – Ask first

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I amaze myself at how often I can forget even to ask God for what I’m really wanting. I just assume he knows (which he does–he’s the only one with the crystal ball, ha), but still. He wants me to ask, just like I wanted my kids to ask me for what they needed.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I was quite shocked by it too. 🙁 We will probably never know who did it; it’s creepy. But nonetheless, there are lessons for me to learn even through it. Hope you have a good week too, June.

  1. Beth

    You know what the Bible calls these kinds of …uh… “non-askers.” Don’t you, Lisa? 😉 I’m kind of glad they had such a hard time (yes, I don’t have the compassionate heart you do!), so that they would learn the lesson you are taking away from this as well. But then, I can see that you are “wise” and learn from other’s mistakes, my friend! Thanks for this funny and insightful post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Don’t give me too much credit for compassion, Beth. I felt some smug retribution thinking about the boat having a leak. Maybe it’s time we either fix the boat or get rid of it. Or maybe that was a lesson in itself to the takers….

  2. Joanne Viola

    Wonderful post. I love the photo of your dog looking at the missing planks. Even he seems to realize something is amiss. Loved Proverbs 3:5-6 in The MSG. May I not try to figure everything out on my own as I may not see the holes in my plan, much the way the holes in the boat were not visible. So glad I came over!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I couldn’t have asked my dog to pose any better. Even she knew something was wrong about this whole thing. ha. Maybe “holes” would have been another angle to take this story…. Thanks for stopping in, Joanne.

  3. floyd

    Great analogy! And demeanor after what they did! I can’t imagine a 2×4 was much of a paddle anyway. Did you confront them or was it kids at night? Either way, it’s easy to see the lesson in this for all of us, me for sure. I can’t recall all the times I went about seeking my will, got in a jamb, then asked God for His blessings and to bail me out… I used to try to remind myself to think first… not I try to pray first…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Never saw who did it. 🙁 Jeff supposed it was kids. I’m hoping it was. I guess–I really don’t like to think of kids doing this either.

      Love your philosophy of praying first even over thinking first. Thanks, Floyd.

  4. Amber @ Beautiful Rubbish

    Whoo boy, that’s some audacity right there! And amazing, still, how you saw this application in there. It’s always a humbling thing for me, on the receiving end of being wronged, when it sinks in how often I have been the perpetrator of this very wrong toward God. It absolutely doesn’t change the wrong that has occurred, but if I let it, it moves my heart to an openness, a tenderness, a humility I wouldn’t have reached on my own. Thank you, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, yes, Amber. To think of how often we do this kind of thing to God. Much more often than I want to think about! We make do with whatever is around us instead of going straight to the Source, who would kindly share with us if we’d only ask…..

  5. Sharon

    Boy, some people are just so rude! 🙁

    Yes, I typically ask God directly for what I want. Sometimes I think that’s not such a good idea, though. For it seems like I am always asking (telling) Him to do this and that. Sometimes I think I don’t leave enough room for Him to speak His will into my life. However, I trust that He will do the best for me and others. I just want to be honest with Him about it all. Good, bad, or ugly!!


    (The photo with your dog is just priceless! I can just hear him/her saying, “What is it with humans anyway??”)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You make a valid point that there is a difference between asking God and telling God. He always knows more and better than I do, so I need to keep my requests open-ended.

      Yes, Kandie was puzzled. ha. And continues to be. It’s funny to watch her still stop and pause at the hole.

  6. Barbara H.

    Oh wow. I’m afraid I would have been fuming too much to find a lesson in it, at least at first. Hopefully the perpetrators learned something as well. I can almost see fishing and even using the boat when the line got hung, though one should definitely ask permission first. But ripping planks out of the footbridge – that’s just wanton. I’m wondering if there was alcohol involved. 🙁 Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson and won’t try it again.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s probably a safe assumption, Barbara. Sometimes we see evidence of that, with bottles and cans littered around. It’s definitely been a source of irritation.

      We used to have guys come frog gigging at night, which always spooked me to see people with flashlights in my backyard. That hasn’t happened in quite awhile though, thank goodness.

  7. bluecottonmemory

    The more I understand God and who I am to him, the less I beat around the bush. He already knows what I want/need – but He wants me to be candid – to trust Him – I’m learning.

    I’m sorry that people tore up your bridge and sank your boat – but if God’s in it – nothing goes to waste – and He gave you this delightful vehicle for a story to remind us how much He loves us!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Fortunately for them (and us), the boat didn’t sink. They deposited it back on the shore. I imagine they weren’t too happy about it though. Then again neither were we. ha. But, yes, I’m glad God won’t let ventures like this go to waste!

  8. Joe Pote

    What a great illustration!

    I’m reminded of a friend who often says, “Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go, cost you more than you ever wanted to pay, and keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay.”

    So true!

    Thanks for sharing this experience…and for seeing the lighthearted side of what must have been a frustrating experience…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s the perfect quote for this story, Joe. Thanks for sharing it. It is true that we rarely imagine the worst long-term effects of staying on a bad path, but we’d be wise to.

  9. Jean Wise

    wow what a lesson and great example. One I won’t forget. love your line: Don’t end up in the middle of a lake in a leaky boat with old planks as paddles.

    Do I ask? too often I forget or forge ahead with my ego taking the lead, then remember to include God. The verse about wisdom really hit home. Ask HIM and he will provide. What a giving, generous God we have! good post, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I remember sometimes when my kids would tell me later that they had wanted something, but never asked because they thought I’d say no. But I knew I would have said yes! Sigh. I’m sure I do the same thing with God at times. Yes, I want to remember more about how generous he is!

  10. Beverley

    I often feel like i am in the middle of a big lake without any oars, thankfully the boat is never leaking, but getting back to shore often ends up with me doing a lot of pleading with God to come rescue me and thankfully he does – eventually. But no i am not afraid to ask for what i need and sometimes what i want too, don’t always get it but in the end i see the wisdom behind it all.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I guess there are lots of ways we can take this boat analogy. I’ve definitely felt like you at times myself, out in the water and begging God to take me back to dry land. He will never let us drown.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know, right? 🙁 We all do things like this, to one degree or another, but we just don’t recognize them in ourselves. It’s always easier to spot in others. Yes, I’m thankful God doesn’t treat us like we deserve either! Thanks, Sarah.

  11. Mary

    Love this. I love the golden in the picture, but I also love the insight you gleaned from the missing planks. Yes, we do that too, don’t we? We just assume that Jesus will be in the boat with us because, after all, isn’t that what He does? Appears in boats with people? Sometimes he lets us start to sink, but never will He let us drown.

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