Being close to drowning is no fun. I grew up around the beach and had plenty of summers at the Atlantic Ocean. The waves got pretty rough at times and you did a spin-cycle as you were whipped about, up and down, head-over-heels. There was more than once I wondered if I was going to get out of this. I remember other times the undertow swelling up and being too far out from shore. I remember lifeguards forming a chain and reaching out to grab me and my brother. I’ve seen plenty of rescues and the “shreik” of the lifeguard whistle is all too familiar. Being close to drowning is no fun.
I know Forrest’s mom said, “Life is like a box of chocolates,” and that may be true, but I’d also say sometimes life is like being in the ocean, close to drowning. Events swell up around you and over you, in immense pressure. You’re left spinning. It’s heavy and you can’t breathe, you don’t know which way is up. You don’t know if you’ll get out of this. Where is solid ground? Help! You may need some lifeguards to pull you out and set you straight, back on dry land. Where can you turn?
The Lord has spoken in His Word. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).” “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him (Lamentations 3:25).” “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)” “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Psalm 37:7)” “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure (Psalm 40:1-2).” The Lord assures and reassures us that He will rescue us when we’re drowning.
And how important is the church in times of drowning? Through the church the manifold wisdom of God is made known (Ephesians 3:10). There is glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever (Ephesians 3:21). The church is the household of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and it is the body of Christ, caring for all its members and parts (1 Corinthians 12:27). Can you reach out to a brother or sister when you’re drowning? There is healing to be had when the church gathers to help you in times of need.
The sad news is, about 4,000 people drown per year in the United States. That’s about 10 people per day. Are you drowning today? Being close to drowning is no fun. Reach out to the Lord, draw close to church brothers and sisters. There is help for you in hard times.