Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Lies Beneath

We were at the beach last week as Tropical Storm Debbie approached.  The waves were enormous...especially for the gulf coast.  As I sat watching the weaves build and then crash as they rushed to shore, a thought occurred to me.  How powerful...and yet how deadly!  You see the rip currents beneath the surface were extremely strong.  All day they had patrolled the beach warning people to stay out of the water!!  Double red flags dotted the landscape, again spreading the warning to stay out.

What is frightening to me is to think of the years we went to the beach, oblivious of those rip currents.  My children were small and yet we would play for hours in the ocean, jumping wave after wave or riding in our boat-like float.  If there were flags, I had no clue what they were for.  It was not until our son was in high school and I chaperoned a youth trip that I learned about rip currents.  It was then I learned about the flags, too.  Green - it's ok to get in the water; Yellow = caution; Red means stay out.  Double red means "No really, STAY OUT OF THE WATER!" 

However, it was on a green flag day that I learned first hand about rip currents.  We were sitting on the beach with a group of our kids, when suddenly we heard the voice of a panic stricken mom, yelling for help.  Her son was being pulled out and she could't get to him.  One of our girls was a life guard.  She instinctively ran to help, as did a couple of men.  However, by that time the little boy had been pulled farther and farther out.  I had jumped up to try and keep our teenager out of the water (after all we were responsible for her), but it was too late.  As I stood watching her go out, I saw that one of the men had gotten the boy.  But the other man was now caught in the current and was struggling.  Our teen was trying to help him, but he was battling her and they were both obviously in trouble.  She was yelling for help.  I knew I had to do something...I could not just stand there and do nothing.  So in I went. 

Before I knew it, the strong current was taking me farther and farther out.  Every time I'd come up after being pulled under by a strong wave, another wave would overtake me.  I could see the beach getting farther and farther away.  I really thought it was the end.

Suddenly, someone was in front of me saying "Pull to the side".  I was so exhausted.  Another wave took me down.  Again when I came up, this person said "Don't try to go forward, pull to the side".  I could not tell you anything about this person, whether it was male or female or any distinguishing features.  All I could see was a form of someone and hear their calm, but commanding voice.  I cried out "I can't!!"  But the voice responded "Yes you can.  Pull to the side."  When I came up again, I pulled to the side with all the strength I had left.  Then I pulled again.  I went under and when I came up I pulled and suddenly my feet touched bottom.  I was shocked and thrilled to realize how close I now was to safety and the shore.  I stumbled into the beach and looked around to thank the one who had saved me. There was no one there. 

Thankfully, all the others had been safely rescued, too.  But I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that as beautiful and inviting as the ocean is, what lies beneath can kill you!!

So as I sat watching these monster waves being propelled to shore by Debbie, I was reminded of how attractive sin can be too.

It can come in the form of a handsome, charming man who can sweet talk a girl into going farther than she ever planned to go.  His good looks and smooth talk concealing what really was lying beneath...a conniving, devious spirit bent on nothing less than getting his way.  Then once the conquest is made, he will leave her broken and used.

It may come in a bottle or a pill, promising only a good time, a way to "fit in" and be like the others.  But before you know it, it takes more and more to satisfy the craving that develops so suddenly and you realize what started out as "just a little fun" has suddenly become an addiction.  No one could have told you what lay beneath that pretty little drink in the frosty glass could ultimately steal your looks, your family, your home and your health.

Or maybe what lies beneath in your case is jealousy or bitterness or deep-seated anger.  Maybe it has festered for years.  And the longer it goes, the worse it gets.  You look fine to everyone around you, but they can't see what lies beneath.  Yet the anger builds and builds.  Forgiveness would set you free.  But instead you hold tight to your feelings and as you do, it's like holding a burning coal in your hand.  The longer you refuse to let go, the more you will suffer.

So I ask you your ocean of prosperity, good looks, charm, success, etc. what really lies beneath?  Don't let sin pull you under.  It can destroy you.  God wants to throw you a lifeline.  Grab hold and let Him give you true life.  A life of meaning and purpose...a life with  Him as your lifeguard.  Today you can experience TRUE freedom, lasting freedom.  I hope today will be YOUR real Independence Day!!

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