I was just a wisp of a girl–a six-year-old, forty-pound monkey with gangly arms and legs who vowed she could do anything her eleven-year-old mischievous brother, Stewart, could do. Standing on the glistening sand of Bogue Inlet Beach, N.C., I hungrily watched as Stewart and his friend, Jeffery, plunged into the briny waters at the end of the island where the Atlantic Ocean merged with the Intracostal Waterway.
Steward and Jeffery had one goal: to swim across the treacherous waters to a beckoning sandbar some 100 feet away.
This was the spot at the end of the island where waves gave way to calm, salt water gave way to fresh, and sand gave way to soil. What looked like tranquil water on the surface was in reality a strong undercurrent that sucked the ocean away from its home. Like a lovesick puppy mourning its master’s absence, I watched as the boys plunged into the water and swam away from shore.
“I want to go too!” I called out after them.
“You’re just a kid!” Stewart yelled back. “You stay there! You can’t come!”
“It’s not fair,” I stormed. “He gets to do everything!
“You stay here with us,” my dad instructed. “You’re too little. It’s not safe.”
My dad’s remarks only made me more determined to prove them all wrong.
“If he can do it, I can do it,” I mumbled. “I always get left behind.”
When my dad turned his back to talk to a friend, I saw my chance and dove into the water. My thin limbs were no match for the sucking force of the undertow and the pull of the current. Very quickly, my lithe body was swept away along with the ocean’s salt, sand and silt into the fresh water. My salty tears mixed with the briny water and my small cries for help went unheard. The strong ropes of current continued to pull me away from my family as they grew smaller.
Dad turned from his conversation to see the boys had almost hit their mark. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed small splashes to his far right. “Oh no,” he cried. “That’s Sharon out there!”
My father dove into the water and cut through the menacing current. Propelled by panic, he reached me in a matter of moments. Like a fisherman’s hook, dad reached out and grabbed my flailing body and reeled me to his side. With one arm, he fought the current once again and pulled us safely to shore.
My dad had rescued me.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Perhaps you’ve jumped into deep waters, into strong currents that appeared benignly calm on the surface. Perhaps you envied others who were headed in a certain direction and felt you were missing all the fun.
“Don’t go there,” your Heavenly Father warns. “It’s not safe.”
“But why do they get to have all the fun,” you whine. “I always get left behind.”
Then, when you think God isn’t looking, in you jump! Before you know it you are being swept away in the current of poor choices, sucked down by the undertow of self-centeredness, and pulled away as your family grows strangely small.
Oh friend, my earthly father pulled me safely to shore that day when I was six, but my Heavenly Father has pulled me safely to shore more times than I can count.
When we ignore our Father’s warnings we forfeit the safety of His shore and plunge into the ocean of harm’s way: the undertow of over-commitment, the current of wrong choices, the rising tide of moral danger.
Perhaps that’s where you are right now. If so, there is hope. You only have to call out to God for help and He will pull you safely to shore.
David cried out, “Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me” (Psalm 31:2).
“Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters…” (Psalm 144:7).
“But Sharon,” you might say, “You don’t know how far I’ve fallen. You don’t know what a mess I’ve made of my life.”
You are right. I don’t know.
But God does and there is no place that you can go where His arm is too short to reach down and save you.
That’s a promise.
If this post gives you comfort today, leave a comment below. Thank God for being your deliver and rescuer when you are in over your head. I’m going to randomly pick 1 precious comment and send a free copy of our Girlfriends in God book, Knowing God by Name.
And for all you Praying Wives, don’t forget to join me over at the new Praying Wives Club.