When You Feel Like You’re Drowning in Bad Decisions
“Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters.” Psalm 144:7a (NIV)
The current swift and fierce, I could feel my body being swept away like a hollow reed.
I was a 6-year-old, 40-pound wisp of a girl with gangly arms who vowed she could do anything her 11-year-old mischievous brother, Stewart, could do.
Standing on the sole-blistering sand, I watched as Stewart and his friend plunged into the briny waters where the Atlantic Ocean merged with the Intercoastal Waterway. The boys had one goal: swim across to a sandbar some 100 feet away.
This was where the waves gave way to calm, salt water gave way to fresh, and sand gave way to soil. But apparent tranquil water on the surface was in reality a strong undercurrent that sucked the ocean away from its home. Like a lovesick puppy, I watched as the boys dove in and swam away.
“I want to go too!” I called out. “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 wrong. “If he can do it, I can do it,” I mumbled. “I always get left behind.”
When my dad turned around, I saw my chance and dove into the water. I was no match for the force of the undertow and the pull of the current. Very quickly, my body was swept away with the ocean’s salt, sand and silt into the fresh water.
My salty tears mixed with the briny water, my small cries for help went unheard, and my family grew smaller.
Dad turned to see the boys were almost there. Then out of the corner of his eye, he noticed my small splashes.
Propelled by panic, Dad dove into the water and cut through the menacing current. He reached out and grabbed me to his side. With one arm, he fought the current and the other held me tight. We finally made it ashore. My dad had rescued me.
My dad was not a perfect man. He certainly made his share of mistakes, but that day, he represented a good God and Father to me.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Perhaps you’ve jumped into deep waters that appeared calm on the surface but hid an undertow of trouble. Perhaps you’ve envied others 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, you jump! Before you know it, you’re swept away in the current of poor choices, sucked down by the undertow of self-centeredness, pulled away as your Father grows strangely small.
When we ignore our Father’s warnings, we forfeit His safe shore and plunge into the ocean of harm’s way: the undertow 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 your heavenly Father 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, NIV). He pleaded: “Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters” (Psalm 144:7a).
As God told Moses at the burning bush, He sees, He hears, He’s concerned and He rescues. (Exodus 3:7-8)
Maybe you’re thinking: You don’t know what a mess I’ve made of my life. You’re right. I don’t. But I do know how badly I’ve messed up. And guess what? There’s no place we can go where His arm is too short to reach down and rescue us.
No matter what your relationship with your earthly father has been, you have a very concerned heavenly Father who sees you, hears you and stands ready to rescue you.
Dear heavenly Father, I am so glad Your arm is never too short to save me — to pull me out of the difficult places of life. Forgive me for ignoring the Holy Spirit’s warnings and jumping into treacherous waters I should have avoided. Give me strength to walk away when I feel that check in my spirit that says “Don’t go there.” I love You, Lord, and I thank You for being my Rescuer, my Rock and my Redeemer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 59:1, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” (NIV)
The Phileo Church Family