Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

The Parable of the Two Islands

A Character story about Trust.

Once upon a time there were two tribes of people living on two islands in a wide, tempestuous river. The one tribe called themselves, by translation, the Fair Ones. They lived not far from the mainland, in fact, close enough to see it clearly. However, they could not, and would not, visit the mainland. They could not because the current was too strong to navigate, and they would not because it was known that the king of the mainland was fierce and demanding. Nevertheless, some Fair Ones bragged that they visited there any time they liked and were personal friends with that king. But most doubted their word.

The other tribe called themselves, by translation, the Gentle Ones. They lived far from the security of the mainland and could not even see it. In fact, they knew so little about the mainland that some were known to teach that their island was really the mainland and the Fair Ones would do well to seek entrance to the security of their island.

As you might expect, the two tribes of people were not very hospitable to each other. It's a shame when people divide each other along trivial lines but both of these tribes did so. The Gentle Ones were anything but gentle when it came to their treatment of the Fair Ones. They made fun of certain unchangeable features which it would be best not to mention here. They also considered the Fair Ones to be tightwads, a menace to any society, and were delighted to get rid of them when any were ferreted out of their population. At times, it is recorded, the Gentle Ones even lobbed a few missiles onto the other island and wiped out a segment of their population, though, to their chagrin, they could never rid themselves of the Fair Ones altogether.

The Fair Ones were not, however, without fault. When visiting other islands, some were known to reject the most reasonable laws because of rigid adherence to their traditions. Furthermore, they were always bragging about being the closer island, and knowing the secrets which appease the mainland king, but they made little effort to share them with the Gentle Ones. The Gentle Ones concluded that the rules were too strict anyway and their own ideas were just as good.

One day, their worst nightmare came true. The water in the river began to rise slowly, and it was obvious that no one on either island would be able to survive for long; all would be drowned. Hope dwindled as they realized that only the mainland was high enough to save them, yet even if they tried to swim there against the current, the survivors would face its fierce king, and who was able to stand before him?

Just as despair would drown the inhabitants of both islands before the water did, a lone figure appeared on the river in a powerful, red, cross-shaped boat. He seemed to be able to negotiate the waves effortlessly as he drew close, first to the island of the Fair Ones. The appearance of the stranger at first brought anxiety to the hearts of the natives, but his words of peace quickly dispelled their fears. "All who will join me in this boat will be taken to safety on the mainland," he promised over the roar of the river.

"But what about the fierce king of the mainland? Will we not be consumed by him?" some objected.

"Trust me," was his only reply. Some immediately joined him in the boat (which was, by the way, large enough for all those on both islands). These wisely noted it was better to trust the stranger than to face the inevitable destruction of the rising river. Some where afraid, and others, seeing that the boat was headed next toward the island of the Gentle Ones, refused to have anything to do with it. A few too chose to take their chances against the sea, boasting of their great swimming ability and their friendship with the king, although no one seemed quick to jump in and demonstrate.

The boat then moved downstream to the distant island of the Gentle Ones and the same offer was made. Of course, some of the Fair Ones objected that Gentle Ones would join them in the same boat to which the driver answered, "Would you have them perish without hope?" and all were silent. Some of the Gentle Ones refused to enter the boat simply because Fair Ones were on board. "If this works," they said, "those Fair Ones will only brag it was their plan all along." But again, those who trusted the driver and feared the rising water were willing to give up their prejudice to save their lives.

Soon all those who agreed to trust the stranger were on board (though, as I said, the boat had much more room) and the boat maneuvered effortlessly toward the mainland. Then fear filled the hearts of all present for they saw the king of the mainland standing at the shore with his armies. The stranger, however, seemed glad to meet him and landed the boat as close to the king as possible. As he stepped out of the boat, the kind stranger said to the king, "Hello, Father. I have done as you asked. These are my friends who have trusted me, and I have brought them to the mainland to be with us."

The king of the land smiled. "They are all welcome as my friends and my family as well." And as the people left the boat, it is noteworthy that they thought no more about being Fair Ones, or Gentle Ones, or even of being safe, but only of being friends and children of the King. (Now read Ephesians 2:13-19 to understand the spiritual lesson in this parable. Will you join them?)