First Ask – Don’t Sink in the Lake


It happened three years ago. I’m not sure what time. Between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. I was probably in the house.

This is what we pieced together.

Some guys decided to fish in the lake in our backyard. If we know you, we love that. Or even if we don’t know you, you’re welcome to fish, if you’ll just ask.

But the first bad decision the strangers made that night was to fish without asking.

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. Again, without asking.

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 own paddles. Out of our footbridge. They tore out two boards and hopped in the boat.


What they didn’t know was this: our boat has a leak. They couldn’t have been in it long before their feet were covered in water. 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 think about our visitors, I’m reminded 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)


* * *

Have you already asked God for what you want this week? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

23 thoughts on “First Ask – Don’t Sink in the Lake

  1. Linda Stoll

    Well, this is a gold mine right here, Lisa -> ‘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.’

    Thanks for this gentle reminder. I’m thinking of all kinds of ways this applies.

    ‘Cause life happens, and sometimes pretty quickly.

    Have a good week, friend …

  2. Barbara H.

    I’m appalled that people would just help themselves to a boat, but to tear boards off a footbridge goes way beyond the bounds of decency. I wonder if alcohol was involved. Did you ever find out what the outcome was, or just see the evidence the next day?

    I love the way you applied this. In so many things, it’s so much better to ask first.

    This morning I was asking God for direction in our church search. Not only will that affect what we’re fed and taught, but our friendships, my young adult son’s friendships, and who knows, he might even meet “the girl of his dreams” there. 🙂

  3. Ed

    “One bad decision often leads to another.”
    I think that’s what my paycheck every month tells me.
    On second thought, that is what my paycheck every month
    tells me!

  4. bill (cycleguy)

    I know its not funny because it is your boat, your pond, your footbridge but it would have been worth the price of admission to see him sink and try to figure out what to do. I might have…no I would have… had a big belly laugh.

  5. BettieG

    Dear Lisa,
    Wow, this is certainly a “story” to fit in with your OneWord for this year. I love the way that you let the Lord bring the object lessons from the situations where you find yourself (or your property!) I’m so glad I am your neighbor over at #Glimpses this week! Blessings to you!

  6. Trudy

    This is such a wise, insightful analogy, Lisa. How very true in our everyday lives. We can so often forget to ask, thinking we have a right to have or do. And things spiral downward… I love the verses you give here, too! God loves to give us wisdom when we ask. Thank you for this powerful picture of what can happen when we lean on our own understanding and direction. Love and hugs to you!

  7. Mary Geisen

    Love the lesson today- just ask. The Message version for Matthew 7:7 says it clearly, doesn’t it?? Don’t bargain with God!!!

    Beautiful example for a lesson that we all need to be reminded of as we begin this week.

  8. Laura Thomas

    Just ask. Yes, why do I have such a problem with asking God boldly? He’ll say no it’s a crazy idea. If I’m likely to sink as a result. This is such a great story, Lisa (although sorry about your boat and your footbridge!) Thanks for sharing… stopping by from #MomentsofHope

  9. nylse

    Well, just because we ask doesn’t mean we’re going to get it in our time or even here on earth but yes we’ve got to ask.
    God has manners and likes to see us use ours! So ask if you want something from Him.

    Stopping by from a linkup!

  10. Char

    What a great lesson you shared from what must’ve been a very frustrating situation. We do tend to do the same thing – dig ourselves into a bigger and bigger mess, rather than ask for forgiveness and come clean. Thanks Lisa.

  11. floyd

    Oh… violated. I hate that feeling. And, unfortunately, that’s why the world, without animals, has fences.

    I like your analogy. Very fitting. For too long, and sometimes still, I’ll move ahead at my own whim then after I’ve got myself in a jam, I reach out to our Father for help.

    Thanks for the reminder, Lisa. Great story and love your calm example.

  12. Jean Wise

    Man, I can just picture this. what a great illustration and one I won’t forget. Ask first. Hard to believe they tore up your bridge for paddles. wow. how rude. Wrong decisions are slippery sloops, aren they? Have a great weekend, Lisa. Your blog always blesses me.

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