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  • Writer's pictureJames Fratzke

Get on the boat

Updated: May 3, 2020


This blog is written by my husband, James Fratzke. Like the bold trailblazer he is, James volunteered to be the first guest writer for R2R. This will be part of a regular feature called Revolutionary Voices. And I'm so blessed to be married to one of them.


The idea of fighting for something instead of against it is truly revolutionary. When I got to thinking about my heart and relationship with God, including where I am on my journey (rebel or revolutionary), it sparked a few ideas. One of which is a saying that always brings me peace: “God helps those who help themselves.”

Even before I was a believer, I found comfort in this idea. It suggests that our Holy Father wants us to actively participate in this life that He has given us. We need to do the work. We reap what we sow. There are two stories (jokes really) that illustrate this idea nicely.

The first story goes like this.

Once upon a time there was a man on a ship. Somehow, he fell overboard into the ocean. Unfortunately, no one noticed, and he was left for dead. The castaway man prays to God to save him. Soon thereafter a small fisherman’s ship notices the man adrift and tries to save him.

“Climb aboard!” he yells out to the man, but the man responds “No thanks! I’m waiting for God to save me.” Against his best judgement, the fisherman sails away.

This happens two more times. Two entirely separate ships of different shapes and sizes find the man floating out at sea and try to save him. With unwavering confidence, the man essentially tells them to get lost. He believed God was going to save him, he didn’t need the fisherman, or anyone else for that matter.

So, what happens? Eventually the man drowns to death (is there any other way?) When he gets to heaven and meets God, he confusingly asks: “Why didn’t you save me?”

God responds: “I sent three ships!”

The second story is a prime example that God wants us to take the first step.

There's a woman who wants to win the lottery. In fact, she’s convinced it’s her only path forward in life. Lottery or bust. So, she prays to God: “Lord, help me win the lottery.” Like any good joke this one also follows the rule of three. Three lotteries pass and she doesn’t win a dime.

Enraged that God didn’t grant her this miracle, she climbs to the top of a mountain and prays to God again. “Lord if I don’t win the lottery this time, I will through myself off this cliff!”

Then God’s voice comes thundering down from the heavens. He says, “Come on, meet me half way… BUY A TICKET!”

A good joke or story often touches on a core human truth. So… what’s the truth here?

A lot of times it’s easy to convince myself that God will answer my prayers exactly the way that I want him to, but it seldom happens this way. I’m stranded in the ocean and I want a miracle, but I miss the fact that the three ships were the miracle. I want to win the lottery, and I expect God to help, but I never buy the one thing I need. Why? Maybe it’s because I feel like if God’s going do all the heavy lifting.

You need to get on the boat. You need to buy the ticket.

God will never do it for you. He won’t do things exactly the way you want them to be done either. He doesn't care much about your vision for what, or how you’d like to be helped. What he does care about is giving us the opportunity to take what’s in front of us and make it work. It’s been described as “opening doors.”

God opens them, but it’s up to us to take a leap of faith and walk through them.


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