We Are Drowning
There are few who read this blog. I am confident, though, that the right person will read it when the time is right. “Every good and perfect thing is a gift from God.”
I really appreciate the Lord’s work in my life. For years I was a crude man; a poor example of what a Christian looks like. In fact, my life would be the picture of a life without Christ. For years I could not get all the pain sorted away from the joy. Even today sorrow will sometimes take center stage in the play called “My Life.”
The Lord gives me reason to walk every morning or at least as many mornings as I am able or the weather permits. He has provided technologies…you know those inventions of men…that provide me with things to listen to as I walk. The walks are really long meditative experiences and words of preachers fill my head. Their words are the words of the Word.
This morning I was listening to Peter Hiett preach to his church, Lookout Mountain Community Church. The sermon is entitled “Lost Sheep and Church Discipline.” That congregation had suffered the loss of one of Christ’s sheep to suicide. That body of believers were in shock at the loss and Mr. Hiett preached to address their collective sorrow. Mr. Hiett could not have possibly known that a sermon he prepared and preached in October 2004 would impact a man such as me. Over a decade later and separated by over a thousand miles that sermon would cause a need to preach it again, again and over again.
Mr. Hiett provided an illustration in his sermon that morning. He told of how he was at a gathering in the backyard of friends. They had a pool. Mr. Hiett’s daughter was three years old as I recall the story. She was admonished to stay away from the pool.
His daughter apparently has a mind of her own and a propensity to push boundaries. Mr. Hiett looked out of the corner of his eyes and noticed something at the bottom of the pool. That something was someone. It was his daughter. She was flailing her arms trying to find a way to escape the pool.
Mr. Hiett tells us that he dove into the pool and rescued his daughter. As they came to the surface she gasped a breath of life and he did too. She was saved by her father and they were saved by their Father.
That story should be illustration enough, but there is more. In 1995 my daughter was three. We lived at an apartment and there was a pool in our backyard. The pool was encased by a fence. The fence made the pool even more enticing than the pool itself. My little girl hungered to be at the water’s edge.
She could not open the gate and neither could she scale the fence. Like Mr. Hiett’s daughter mine had a mind of her own. She did not press boundaries often, but on occasion she would show her independence and do a thing she was instructed not to do.
On a special day my daughter begged and cajoled me to take her to the pool. It is hot and humid where I live. In August it is particularly difficult to be outside for long periods of time. I didn’t want to go to the pool. I didn’t want to swim. All I wanted was to read my newspaper, but I could not take any more badgering from my little girl. I relented and we went to the pool.
I took my newspaper with me and my little girl held my hand. The gate opened and together we stood at the edge of the pool. I told her she could play at the shallow end and that I would sit near her. Needless to say I sat in a pool chair that was not near the place where my daughter wanted to play.
My little girl found a way to quietly and with great stealth move away from me and toward the deeper parts of that pool. I would look up from my newspaper occasionally and watch over her. I ushered her back to the area of the pool where I sat. I told her that our time at the pool would end if she chose to sneak over to the deep parts again.
That admonishment didn’t matter to her. She was laying on her stomach and chasing waves she was making with her hand. The waves would lead her to reach out and she would scoot closer and closer and eventually over the edge.
God intervened. He caused me to look over the top of my paper just as my little girl fell into the deep end of the pool. I jumped up from the chair and it what seems like a long, long time I raced to where she fell in. I reached my hand into the water and grabbed her ankle as she sank deeper into the pool.
The Lord helped me grab her ankle. He gave me extraordinary strength to pull her from the clutches of the pool.
She was upside down hanging from my grasp. I righted her and pulled her close. Her face was that of an astonished child. Her eyes were huge. She coughed a little water from her throat and sputtered, “I fell into the water.”
The fear in me was overwhelming. The love in me was greater still. I could only hold her and cry. I could only look to heaven and give thanks. Forgive me for not being attentive Lord.
Mr. Hiett continues his illustration. There is a man in the congregation whose name is Ron. Ron was at another spring time party. A young girl came to him and tugged on his pant leg. He looked down at her and asked what she wanted.
“Hey mister. Will you hold me?” she said.
Ron told the little girl that he would later. Moments passed and that little girl was back tugging on his pant leg.
“Hey mister. Will you hold me?” she asked him.
He told the little girl he would in a little while. He watched her as she walked away.
Moments later there was a commotion at the pool. That little girl had fallen in. There was no one to jump in after her. She died at the bottom of that pool that day.
Ron was upset and could not sleep that night. He got out of his bed and determined to find out who that little girl was. Who were her parents? Where were they? Maybe he could say something to console them.
Ron walked the neighborhood and he learned where that little girl lived. He learned her story.
The little girl’s mother was single. She had recently come to know a man. That man would be with her, but only if there were no children attached.
The little girl’s mother walked from neighbor to neighbor. She walked to other family members. The little girl’s Mom asked if any of those would take her daughter and raise her. None would.
Ron learned that the little girl was only a few days ago in another backyard where there was a pool. The little girl fell in. She was rescued and she was hugged by her rescuer. She was cared for by that family. She was loved.
The stories are true. The outcomes are true. Two little girls saved and one lost after having been saved.
Is there a moral to this story? The pools are sin and each of us will drown if we fall in. We will die unless our Father steps in to rescue us. We are all little children.