As a young girl growing up in north Jersey, opportunity to see the Atlantic Ocean came maybe once a year. It was quite a drive to go “down the shore” as we called it. I have fond memories of those summer vacations; excitement of the first hint of salt air, the caw of seagulls in flight. There’s just something special about a “beach town.” However, one summer vacation nearly ended in tragedy.
I must have been eleven or twelve. My dad taught me to body surf, and I had no fear of the water, loved it. Unfortunately, my feelings of fearlessness rapidly changed, as I found myself being pulled farther from the shore. I remember struggling to tread water, trying to keep my head above the surface. There was a boy not far from me in the same boat; or rather we wished we were in a boat. I scanned the beach for the lifeguard, and there he was, paying no attention to the drowning children while investing in his social life.
This was by no means any fault of my parents. They kept a sharp eye on me, but if you’ve ever heard of the terms rip-tide, rip-current, undertow and the like,you know they can be more quick and deadly than a man-eating shark. This quiet force sneaks up on you; very subtle until you’re too far gone to help yourself. Swimming toward shore is useless, pointless, and exhausting. Thankfully, my dad, who incidentally had been a lifeguard at one time, spotted two bobbing heads in distress. I saw him dive into the water, and within seconds, he was dragging both of us like a tugboat safely back to dry land.
My earthly father saved two lives that day; and I know my heavenly Father was there too. He always is. He Is.
How many times in our life have we found ourselves drowning in the middle of an ocean? Overworked, overcommitment, our plates so full, we’re too tired to scrape them off and wash them? Family stress, financial stress…you get the picture. Are we flailing our limbs without a life-preserver, because we swam too far away from the shore? Lost. Discouraged. Exhausted from treading water. Were we literally dragged away, or did we go voluntarily?
Even the best swimmers grow weary treading water; isn’t it time to walk on it? tweet that
The good news is, well, the Good News. Hope. Jesus. He’s our life preserver; our lifeline. Salt water up your nose is very unpleasant. Jesus is the most qualified lifeguard on duty 24-7. We can call out to Him in our distress, and He will see us safely back to shore. Call to Him, pray, and have faith.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:25-26 (NIV)
Funny, I now live in Florida; just minutes away from the majesty of crashing waves, and miles of beach. I no longer fear the ocean, for I see God’s glory in its breathtaking magnificence; and I see a girl saved by grace who lived to tell His story.