As she careened down the flooded creek in a canoe, she began to wonder about her decision to join her friends in what appeared now to be a foolish adventure. It was March and it had rained for days. The water was cold – very cold. Wasn’t this the type of situation that her parents had warned her about? Had she assessed the risks correctly? Was she properly prepared for this?
She heard a yell followed by a splash. Turning, she saw two friends in the water. Her boyfriend said, “They will be alright. We’ll pull off.” But, she couldn’t leave them and pleaded with him to turn around and help.
As they maneuvered their canoe towards their friends, they were sucked up against some trees. She leaned trying to stay upright as her boyfriend yelled, “Don’t lean!!” It was too late. Water started filling the canoe. Her boyfriend yelled, “Get out!!!” She did. She whirled downstream until her feet hit solid ground. Thankful, she stood in the middle of the raging creek, life vest on, calm and satisfied that she was safe.
Her boyfriend had made it to the side of the creek and started yelling at her to swim. She simply replied, “No”. Others joined him directing her to swim, but why would she. She was safe – she felt secure. Her mind was not registering that she was freezing or that water raged around her shoulders. She did not think about the trees and debris that were shooting down the river towards her. She just knew that she was very safe with two feet on solid ground.
They all continued to yell but she heard none of it – it seemed serene where she was and very quiet. But something caught her attention. Her boyfriend was staring at her. Their eyes locked. She noticed that he had never looked at her that way – what was it? Love? Genuine concern?
She wondered why. She opened her ears to hear what he was saying. He was pleading with her – “You have to get out of the water; you are going to freeze.” He started into the water and it was as if his soul reached out to her and in that split second she believed that she should do what he told her because she believed in him – not in what he was telling her to do – but in him. Why would he look at her that way and encourage her to do something that would hurt her? Why would he not want her to be ok? Why would he come back into the raging water towards her if everything was alright?
She launched herself into the raging waters again, swimming across the rapids. She was panicking – why had she listened to him. She was safe in the middle where her feet could touch. She should have stayed. She would have been safe there. But now that she was in the water she had to swim and swim hard.
As she was dragged up from the waters, she heard his voice, taking charge of her, telling her to get up and walk. She did not want to walk. She just swam through a raging creek. She was exhausted. She just wanted to sit. What was he yelling at her about when she just did what he told her to do!! Didn’t she deserve to just rest – but he was pulling her up, practically dragging her towards the road. The others were going too – quickly as if they were late for something.
She allowed herself to be led along the side of the creek, but her strength started to slip away. Her boyfriend was practically carrying her. She was cold – very, very cold. Her mind was not working as it should – she had just come through a near tragedy and she was not able to focus. Things seemed to be happening in slow motion. From her daze, she saw them knocking on someone’s door. They were welcomed into warmth and the hospitality of new friends.
This is a life moment – one that happens every moment of every day somewhere in this world. A moment when a person helps someone else through a sheer desire to save them. A moment born out of love for someone else who is in a terrible situation. A moment when a life line is thrown and when someone realizes they need help or when the life line is accepted even if the person does not believe they need help. It is a moment when a person in trouble takes a step towards freedom because they believe someone else has the answer. It is a moment when belief is born not out of a person’s own knowledge but because that person is confident in someone else’s knowledge.
The following Scripture is a challenge to all of us. Where are you in God’s story?
Scripture – John 14:5-14 Jesus the Way to the Father
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Do we believe in Jesus because he is living in us or do we believe because someone we trust believes?
Are we in the middle of a raging creek unable to hear the people shouting from the bank? Are we under a delusion that we are safe in the middle of the raging waters because it is easier to continue in our perceived safety than cross the raging waters to freedom? Have we focused in on someone who has earned our trust and asked Jesus to open our ears to hear? Do we believe because the evidence of Jesus is exhibited in the person we trust?
Are we a life line for someone to begin to believe? If we are a life line, have we taken the additional steps to bring our friend into safety? Have we stood on the bank and called to them? Have we stepped into the raging waters and held out our hand? Have we brought them into the warmth, clothing them in love and feeding them with the knowledge of Jesus so that they too can become life lines for others?