THE AMBUSH OF JOHN WESLEY POWELL
John Wesley Powell, lost his arm in the Civil War. This, however, did not stop him from becoming a hero.
"Back in 1869 conventional wisdom said that passage through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River was impossible. It couldn’t be done. The back country surrounding the Grand Canyon oozed with legends of doomed expeditions. No one had ever dared that stretch of river and come out alive. Out of all expeditions that had given it their best shot, there was not one survivor.
One army lieutenant who has explored the Colorado just on the southern side of the Grand Canyon believed that powerful river so treacherous that 'the Colorado, along the greater part of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed.' (If you saw the River Wild, the rapids shown in the movie were a class nine rapids, which looked like a sprinkler next to these rapids).
But the one-armed explorer thought he could pull it off.
On May 24, 1869, Powell and a party of nine stepped into their four small boats to attempt the thousand-mile journey. Along the way, their party encountered numerous ambushes.
They were ambushed by legion killer rapids.
They were ambushed by waterfalls.
They were ambushed by boulders the size of cabins.
They were ambushed by the loss of boats, critical foodstuffs, and instruments.
Yet one hundred days later, Powell and five men emerged from two boats. All hope for their survival had been given up weeks before. They were suffering from exposure and near starvation. But they made it.
What happened to the other four men? One decided to go back. The other three, after numerous disagreements with Powell, left the expedition. They hiked to the rim of the Canyon...only to be killed by Indians.”
(Steve Farrar, Finishing Strong, pg. 24)
Dr. Robert Clinton discovered while researching various individuals in the Word of God that they all finished one of the following Four Ways:
• CUT OFF EARLY (assassinated, denounced, overthrown)
• FINISH POORLY (on the down side spiritually)
• FINISH "SO-SO" (they weren’t all they could have been)
• FINISH WELL (walked with God)
WHY DIDN’T SOME FINISH WELL?
They were ambushed!
(From a sermon by Rick Finitzer, Watch Out for Ambushes, 10/28/2009)
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Paul Fritz on Jul 28, 2002
LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD Hudson Taylor founder of China Inland Mission) used to hang in his home a plaque with two Hebrew Words on it: EBENEZER & JEHOVAH JIREH. The first word means ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’ and the second, ‘The Lord will see to it or provide.’ One looked back ...read more
What God Says PRO
Contributed by Paul Decker on Dec 1, 2002
WHAT GOD SAYS In the Spring of 1924, Jack Sundine was a four-year-old kid, standing in a line with his father inside the White House, waiting to meet President Calvin Coolidge. As they neared him, Jack noticed that he said something to each visitor as they shook hands. Soon, the thrilling ...read more
Contributed by Paul Fritz on Jul 30, 2002
Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, "The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master". Warren W. Wiersbe, The ...read more
Contributed by Paul Wallace on Sep 14, 2004
Howard Hendricks tells of a mentor who changed his life in his book Iron sharpens Iron. Howard was from a broken family, and said, "I could have lived, died and gone to hell without anyone bothering to care." However, a man named Walt from a tiny church in his neighborhood cared about reaching nine ...read more
Contributed by Earl Graston on Jul 7, 2005
In the fall of the year, Linda, a young woman, was traveling alone up the rutted and rugged highway from Alberta to the Yukon. Linda didn’t know you don’t travel to Whitehorse alone in a rundown Honda Civic, so she set off where only four-wheel drives normally venture. The first evening she found a ...read more