This post is the third in a month-long series on the Miracle of Dunkirk, a call to all-in, bring-your-boat, daring and courageous orphan care inspired by the But If Not campaign of Sage Harvest Gourmet Jerky. Join the cause to stage the NEW greatest rescue mission in modern history — the Miracle in China.
I haven’t been in a boat for years.
As a little girl, my daddy used to take my sister and me canoeing at least twice a year — back in the days of Indian Princess camp-outs and father-daughter outings.
It was one of my very favorite things — being out on the water with the man who was my childhood hero, using teamwork to propel our tiny (and easily tippable) canoe from one side of the lake to the other, basking in the sunshine as we observed turtles and frogs and the troves of lost sunglasses and hats that had washed up on the shore.
It’s one of the memories that truly marks my mind’s version of childhood.
So for Father’s Day, the boys and I decided canoeing was exactly what we wanted to take the fathers in our life to do.
On Sunday, we loaded up two canoes — one with Super-Spouse and two boys, the other with my dad, Superhero 1 and me — and spent two hours paddling in the afternoon sun around a local lake we’d not yet had the chance to explore.
We giggled as we watched Superheroes 2 and 3 learn to use oars.
We snickered as another superhero almost got caught by explorers when he docked his boat ashore to pee on what he thought would be an uninhabited piece of land.
We got stinky and dirty as we rowed in boats with boys who didn’t get the concept of keeping the paddle in the water.
And we just basked in the beauty and fun of adventure and teamwork and togetherness in the loveliness and serenity of the lake.
As we rowed and explored and played and laughed, I noticed others at the lake who hadn’t gotten into the water.
The ones still sitting on the shore.
Their friends and family were in bathing suits and life jackets out rowing and water skiing and wave running and SUP boarding. Their family and friends were in the water — getting wet, getting dirty, breaking sweat.
And they were sitting on the shore of the lake — dry, safe and happy to observe the action … not realizing that they were actually missing the ADVENTURE.
And it made me think not of the 800 marine merchant and civilian vessels who heard the call, got in the water and traveled the English Channel to rescue more than 338,000 Allied Forces who were surrounded and at a crossroads on the beaches of Dunkirk during the Battle of France in World War II.
It made me think of the ones who stayed ashore.
The ones who didn’t participate.
The ones who missed out on being a part of what is known as the greatest rescue mission in world history.
The Miracle of Dunkirk.
These people — the boat owners who DIDN’T respond to the call — they had the same opportunity as the ones who went.
They had the same kind of rinky dink boats.
They had the same sets of skills.
They even had the same kind of training.
But while 700 to 800 boat owners heard the call, heard the plea, saw the problem and decided to put on their brave pants and be part of the solution, thousands more remained at home.
Watched from ashore.
Cheered for the courageous ones to go … but stood clapping from the safety and security of land, where they weren’t willing to get dirty and wet themselves.
Friends, my heart breaks as much for these citizens as for the Allied Forces who did perish that week in history.
Because they MISSED it.
They missed an opportunity.
They missed a calling.
They missed the BIG PICTURE of how they could have served their fellow man in one of the most desperate and dire circumstances their countries had ever seen.
The British admiralty didn’t call for the best equipped boats to get in the water.
He didn’t call the brave.
He didn’t call for those who knew best how to evade the perils of war.
He simply made the desperate, without-you-we-die, crazy, unheard-of plea and prayed that untrained men and women would love their fellow fighters enough to put aside self, get in the water and GO. So that nearly 350,000 fellow humans wouldn’t have to die in the face of their non-response.
Our God — He’s making the same call.
To BE His hands and feet.
To respond to the call to serve the 600,000 Chinese orphans who are now stranded on the beach without parents.
Who will age out by 14 if no one gets in a boat and rushes to them.
The people in the boats — they admittedly face the wind and the waves. The attacks and the firestorms. Casualties and catastrophes.
Adoption and orphan care are no easy roads, and bringing those babies onto boats requires tenacity and perseverance and courage of the greatest kind.
But the ones who never get in boats in the first place?
They miss the MIRACLE.
In this country, we HAVE the resources. We HAVE the wealth. We HAVE the boats of every kind.
Medical boats. Financial boats. Communications boats. Support boats.
Are we willing to USE them on what matters most?
Or is it more important to us to keep our boats ashore — where they’ll be tidy. Safe. Clean. Free from harm.
We can live here — ashore in our comfort.
Or we can heed the James 1:27 call to be part of the next greatest mission in history.
The one that changes the story for 600,000 deserving children.
Grab your boat.
Get on board.
Refuse to be shorebound.
Don’t miss the miracle.
#miracleofdunkirk #miracleinchina #getintheboat #changetheorphanstory