I spent some time battling a brutal virus recently. I fought valiantly, but in the end, I was defeated. The virus won. While recuperating, I managed to muster just enough strength to work the remote control. As I surfed a multitude of television stations in an attempt to alleviate my boredom, I happened upon the old classic movie “The African Queen” with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.
For those unfortunate few who have never had the opportunity to see this movie, it is the fictional story of British missionary Rose Sayer and river boat captain Charlie Allnut. It is set in German East Africa at the onset of World War I. As war breaks out, Charlie and Rose attempt to flee the Germans by traveling down the river in Charlie’s steamboat the African Queen. While almost complete opposites, the two grow closer as they face the dangers of the river together and eventually fall in love.
I have always loved this movie but for some reason, this time it had a profound affect on me. I continued to reflect on one of the last scenes of the movie for some time after the final credits rolled.
In this scene, the African Queen is stuck in dense reeds in the shallow water near the mouth of the river. Charlie and Rose attempt to tow the boat but all their efforts fail and they eventually give up. They go to sleep emotionally and physically exhausted with little hope of survival. During the night however, heavy rains fall raising the level of the river and floating their little boat out onto the lake.
I was struck by the fact that they gave up when they were so close to their goal. Their freedom was just a few feet away but they gave up all hope and resigned themselves to die because some reeds and brush hid it from their view.
It occurred to me that we often do the same. We let the “reeds and brush” of this world cause us to give up on our dreams and goals even though we are so very close to achieving them. We give up, because with our limited vision we cannot see how close they really are. Like Rose and Charlie we become emotionally and physically exhausted and feel that we can go no further.
It is at these times, after we have done all that we can, our Heavenly Father will send the “rains” that will float us the rest of the way.