About 15 years ago, a buddy and I went to Cancun for vacation. We had a great time planned out and were excited to be going on an adventure. When we checked into our hotel, they said that each day the hotel would be hosting games and activities. If we met in the lobby at a certain time each day, they would tell us the activities.
At one such meeting, they told us about a snorkeling trip. That sounded fun. I had been snorkeling in the Red Sea and it was an amazing experience. We decided we were in! They gave us life jackets, snorkeling gear and then took us out in a boat. They dropped us off in groups and we were to follow the flags to get the best experience. While I was admiring the ocean floor and sea life, I saw something that didn’t belong. It was my buddy.
He was steadily sinking like a rock with his arms waving and he had a look of terror on his face. I looked up for the boat, but it had gone off about 200 yards. There was only one thing to do. I had to go against everything I’d been taught. I took off my life vest, I swam down to get him, grabbed him, kicked off the bottom and swam for the surface as hard as I could. As soon as we got there, he did what experts said he would do, he panicked and pushed me under.
All of a sudden I was in a battle for my own life. I couldn’t break free from his grip. I had to punch him to get him to release me. When I got to the surface for air, he was still thrashing the water looking for anything to hold onto. I yelled at him to relax. “You have a life vest on,” I told him. “Relax and let it do its job.” Once he did, he found that he was floating. I told him to lay his head back and breathe while I got the boat’s attention.
As I was yelling for the boat, a wave came over his head and water got in his eyes and mouth. Panic set in again. He grabbed me, pushed me under and began thrashing the water again. I punched him, got away from him, made it back to the surface and calmed him down again. Finally the boat came to pick him up. He stayed in the boat until we got back to shore. That’s when he told me he couldn’t swim.
Many of us find ourselves in his situation on life. We are overcome by waves and we panic. We are sinking to the bottom. Drowning in problems. Our life preserver isn’t working like we thought it should. The opposite of what’s supposed to happen is happening. We thrash and kick and fight. The more we do, the more we sink. We are overcome with life.
God is looking down through the water. He sees you looking up at Him. He is not unaware of where you are. He has given you a life preserver in His Word. Read the Bible. Cling to His promises. Proverbs 4:22 tells us that His words are life to those who find them. Hebrews 13:5 echoes, “for He, God Himself, has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not (3 times) in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down or relax my hold on you!'” Wow! That’s a powerful promise from God. Hold on to that today and trust in Him. Just like in swimming, if you’re drowning, quit fighting and trust. You will rise to the surface and get air again. God is on your side even when you can’t see Him.