Lesson from a Riptide

My family and I were on vacation at the beach not long ago and had a great time. Our girl Cadence, who is autistic, loves the ocean and it gives us a lot of joy to see her enjoy the water. One afternoon she and my hubby went out from the shore a little ways and were jumping in the waves. They were having a great time, laughing and splashing. What they didn’t realize is that a rip current was carrying them farther and farther away from the shore. Suddenly Michael looked up and was alarmed to realize how far away they had drifted and the waves were beginning to get higher than was comfortable.

Michael is a pretty good swimmer, but Cadence is more of a doggy paddler and even though she’s only 12, she’s about 5’9″ and almost as big as my husband. She’s not verbal and wasn’t aware of the danger and he had a hard time getting her back to shore. A scary moment to be sure.

I can’t help but draw the comparison of that rip current with our modern day lives. In particular I think of the traps that we sometimes find ourselves in. Often we are just enjoying life and not really paying attention to where the current of life, culture, relationships or choices are pulling us. We are just having fun without understanding what’s happening around us.

I’m reminded of this even in small ways. It’s 90+ degrees here in the great state of SC and as I’m looking through some summer clothes, I’m finding that none of the clothes from last summer actually fit me. A look at the scale reveals that somehow I was just enjoying life and not really paying attention to what was happening. Now that I’ve looked up (or down at the scale) I’m alarmed at how far I’ve drifted from what is healthy and what I know to be good for me. And yet, here I am and without a doubt it will be a struggle to get back to the safety of the shore.

This can be true with all sorts of things. Our health (exercise, eating, habits). Our relationships. There are some people who pull us from a good place into a dangerous place. We don’t realize it until we find ourselves alarmed at how far we’ve drifted. This can be true with other things as well, like money (debt, spending, material things, greed or even laziness). And then there are life style choices and addictions that can draw us into danger. Sometimes we don’t even realize we have a problem. We think we can get back to shore at any time, but it’s not as easy as we think.

Of course most sins are the same way. Sin is simply something that stands between us and God and I bet none of us would have to think long to come up with a list of things that we allow to take first place in our lives over our relationship with God. And sometimes the things that cause us to drift away from God aren’t even bad in and of themselves. Busy schedules, family, responsibilities, service to the church and others. But even those things can cause us to drift from the joy of spending time with the One who loves us most.

I’ve often been caught in that current. I’ve drifted from shore, got off center, and lost focus. But the troubling thing for me is that as a mom, wife and servant of God, drifting effects more than just me. When I’m going through the motions of life, letting the current of busyness and responsibility carry me where it will, my family suffers. And like Michael trying to get Cadence back to shore, it’s a lot harder to fight against the current when you are trying to bring people with you.

This is true in so many scenarios. If I choose to be unhealthy my family will be unhealthy. If I choose to let responsibility rob me of time spent with family, my children will miss something important that only I can give. If any of us drift down a road of sin, pride, addiction or bad choices, someone will get caught in the current with us.

As my husband was struggling to get to shore with Cadence, he kept his eye on the lifeguard. He knew he could get help to find his way back to shore. I’m beyond grateful for the Lifeguard that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He has rescued me time and again from messes, from myself and from a current I’m caught in. He can rescue you too. Just call out to Him. You don’t have to get to where He is. He will come to where you are.


Photo credit: Rodrigo_Soldon via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND