Sitting in the Lifeboat Surrounded by the Drowning, by April Gardner

Lately God’s been opening my eyes to the plight of many of His precious children around the world. In my human nature, it’s easy to focus entirely on their outward needs–food, shelter, and lots of hugs–that I forget about their spiritual need. But you know that saying about teaching a man to fish? Give a child Jesus and you give them hope for new life. Abundant life. Transformed life. Salvation is much more than a ticket into heaven. It’s having a constant, ever-faithful companion strong enough to carry you through any storm. It’s having the ultimate physician and counselor residing inside you, soothing and healing deep wounds. It’s knowing you belong, not because of anything you’ve done or might do, but because of what’s been done for you.

Today my dear friend, April Gardner, author of Wounded Spirits and Senior Editor of Clash of the Titles, shares a moment when she caught a glimpse of God’s forever love for His children.

Sitting in the Lifeboat Surrounded by the Drowning, by April Gardner

Several summers ago, I took a missions trip to Romania with a team from my church. We went to conduct a Vacation Bible School in a local church for the children in the city of Oradea. Several days before VBS kicked off, we visited a massive city park where hundreds of poverty-stricken children played. 

The heat that day was overwhelming but more so was the country’s need for a Savior.  As we passed out fliers for the upcoming event, I began to realize how few fliers we had to distribute. The stack in my hand dwindled quickly as one child after another took their copy and ran with the exciting news to their parents. When only one blue paper remained, I scanned the park looking for who I might give it to. Children scampered all about me, hollering and laughing, oblivious to their need.
I felt myself in a lifeboat, surrounded by drowning people, but with only one life-preserver in my hand. How to choose? God loved them all, but which would He have me give this one paper to?
The truth that God drove home to me in that moment was this–There is a mighty big world out there in need, but I can’t reach them all. God’s given each of us a stack, and He expects us to do something with it. All we have to do is obey, passing out one paper at a time. 
The rest is up to Him. Aren’t you glad?
A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her children, while her husband serves a tour in the Middle East.  In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian. She is the best-selling author of Wounded Spirits. Contact April: aprilgardnerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com and visit her website to find out more about her and her writing.


  1. Thanks for letting me share my story, Jennifer. That trip to Romania was a life-changing experience. I can only pray it changed the lives of a few children as well.

  2. April, such a simple yet POWERFUL lesson. Thank you for sharing this incredible story. With so much media to look at showing us worldwide needs, it’s easy to forget there is someone or something right in front of us that is beckoning for our help. Thanks for a great post!

  3. April, thank you for sharing such an amazing glimpse into your work enabled by the power of the One who is our ultimate lifeboat. Blessings!!

  4. Hi Elaine and Donna. Thanks for commenting.
    ! It was a powerful moment. To keep the story simple, I didn’t add that I was working side-by-side with a Christian Romanian who shared the stack with me. Together, we silently looked around for the one who would receive the last flier. Neither of us said anything at that moment, but days later, we recalled that day and when I mentioned how I’d felt like I was surrounded by drowning people, she gasped and told me she had felt the exact same way. Had actually thought of herself as being in a lifeboat with just one preserver. Did that just give you tingles or what? Talk about a God-thing. The Holy Spirit is real and powerful. He often speaks to us in different ways to fit our individual needs, but when He speaks to two different people (from totally different cultures) and uses the same imagery and sense of urgency? Wow. Speechless.

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