"Wits' Inn"--The Last Resort
My neighbor Laurie has no desire to get into a boat anymore. It wasn't always so--in fact, she owns a Boston Whaler and once spent every opportunity fishing on Alaska's Katchemak bay. She even joined the Coast Guard auxiliary! Who would ever believe, then, that Laurie would arrive home one day after riding a Coast Guard vessel back to Anchorage from Cordova and announce to all that she was no longer interested in boats, fishing, or anything to do with the ocean! Finished!
One experience with an angry sea was all it took.
I can sympathize with my friend--there was a time when I looked up to the sky and could see nothing but green, as a wave towered
above our little 20' boat and tossed us into the air sideways. The power of the ocean is incredible and terribly frightening!
"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and
his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves
thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of
trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end." Ps.107:23-27)
I had always thought that the phrase "wits' end" was a common slang word of fairly modern usage; but there it was in plain sight--in Psalm 107! David used it! And he used it to describe what usually happens when we find ourselves staring at overwhelming trouble. Our soul gets "melted". We suddenly realize that everything that we could do has been done and despair sets in.
Except, (in the case of those sailors):
"...then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their
distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."
Have you ever noticed just how many times we have to reach "wits' end" before we will do that? It seems to be the last resort after all else has failed.
Once, a Catholic priest came to a house where I was staying in India. He was a highly educated young man who taught Greek in a Christian Bible school. But he was also a sick man, and had come to the city where he was to see some doctors. When he came into the room, I was introduced to him. "This is Sister Adams. She prays for the sick, and if you'd like she will pray for you too," they told him. But his reply to that was, "I am a scholar! And I know all about healing in the Bible and I don't need anyone to pray for me!"
Later in the day he returned to the same house after having tests at the hospital and doctor's office. He was distraught. "The doctor tells me that it looks as if I am doomed...it is the worse news! The blood tests will confirm I have no hope, he told me." There were tears in his eyes. "I am so young--I can't believe I would have ___" he moaned.
And then he suddenly saw me sitting on the couch. "Will you pray for me?" he asked. "Yes, I would, but since you said you don't believe in divine healing, there would be no use as you don't have the faith to be healed," I answered him. This shocked him, but also humbled him. He suddenly fell at my feet and said, "I BELIEVE! I BELIEVE! PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!" he shouted. "In that case, I will," I answered, and put my hands on his head and asked the Lord for mercy and healing for his affliction. About two hours later, he left again to go back to the doctor and find out about his lab tests. But he was not gone very long. When he returned, he was not the same man--he ran around the room, walking and leaping and praising God! "I am HEALED! I am HEALED!" he shouted. "The blood tests came back...no ____!" He was so excited! And then he looked around the room at everyone there. We were all Pentecostals. "God led me to you people. It was His plan to teach me!" he cried, sobbing.
We notice that in this Psalm, it was God Himself who raised the storm on that sea! Would God do that? Yes, indeed. Jonah would tell you that it is so. But not only seas of water, but seas of every conceivable kind of problem--to purposely bring us to Wit's end so that we might experience His faithful love toward us and that we might learn to trust Him.
I've concluded (over the years) that there is another way of looking at this: Suppose we call it "Wits' Inn" instead of "Wits' end". Think of it as a place where there is shelter and a refuge, just as travelers look for hotels.
Years ago I was driving across the northern part of Texas near Amarillo. It is notorious in the wintertime for sudden blizzards, and unfortunately, we got caught in one. The snow was coming down so fast, you could hardly see out the windows. Not only that, but the temperatures were falling rapidly, and the little heater in the car could not keep us warm nor could the defroster melt the ice forming on the windshield wipers. We were in dire straits! But we kept driving, hoping to soon find a motel or some place of shelter. Yet it was late at night--after midnight, and everything was closed. What were we to do?
When we come to "Wit's End", we must recognize that we have parked in front of "Wit's INN". For Jesus promised He would never leave us nor forsake us. And He is inviting us to come inside that place of safety and help in times of need. It is warm there, and offers us rest. Best of all, the rent is free and we can stay as long as we like! As we turned into "Wits' Inn" that night and prayed, we suddenly saw a tiny glimmer of a light ahead. It was a service station about to close up for the night. They welcomed us in to ride out the storm until the next morning. Another few moments and they would have left to go home! We later found out that several people lost their lives in that very blizzard.
Beloved, there are roadways and seas upon which you and I travel down life's pathway that are fraught with dangers, problems, and situations that exhaust our frail abilities. Our minds become contaminated with fears and we sometimes despair and lose hope. Remember that the disciples of Jesus experienced such a situation when a storm arose on the Sea of Galilee; they knew they were about to sink and drown. Yet all the while, "Wits' Inn" and "Last Resort" is asleep and resting comfortably on that same boat with them! They only needed to go to Him and wake Him up! He would calm the waves in an instant!
"O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee?
or to thy faithfulness round about thee?
Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise,
thou stillest them.:(Psa 89:9)
No one needed to remind Laurie to pray. "Wits' Inn" was no longer her "Last Resort" --it had become her permanent residence when she received Jesus as Lord. Now it was merely a matter remembering the benefits of living there.
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1)
Psalm 91 invites us all to make "Wits' Inn and Last Resort" our home. No need to let fear overtake us anymore. As long as Jesus is in the boat with us; We only need to disturb His sleep.
MARY E. ADAMS