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We recently returned from Sacramento visiting with some of Melinda’s family. This time every year her parents, aunts, uncles and cousins meet in Saint Helena to visit the gravesite of Melinda’s grandparents, and some other relatives buried there. It’s sort of a memorial event to recognize and pay respect to two people who accepted the gospel message in Vietnam some 40+ years ago. As a result, most of their children (and grandchildren) became Seventh-day Adventists. It was Adventist missionaries that had worked to bring the gospel to them.
For this year’s event the heat was real. It was 112 degrees in Saint Helena, and we were all very grateful for trees and shade. We were also grateful for Melinda’s cousin and her husband who had a nice, cool, refreshing swimming pool we were anxious to get back to. Our two boys and some other cousins loved to play in the pool. Caleb especially had shown great improvement in swimming and fetching for diving rings I held in my hand as I stood 5 -10 feet from him. Joseph also was getting comfortable in his puddle-jumper. So much so that he could navigate on his own with no problems.
On one of those hot days we had been swimming for some time and a break was well deserved. Time to eat some snacks, rehydrate, and get out of the sun for a bit. With five kids running around, it can sometimes be a challenge to keep tabs on everyone. Joseph had finished and was heading back to the pool. Problem was, he took off his puddle jumper to eat and take a break and had yet to put it back on. I saw him get in the pool to the first platform step, a large surface area where he could walk around and keep his head above water – no problem.
As I’m having a conversation with Nick, Melinda’s cousin’s husband who happens to be a pediatrician, I tell Joseph he needs to come out and get his puddle jumper on so he doesn’t fall off the step into deeper territory. As I continue my conversation with Nick and help some of the other little ones I hear a splash and Nick’s youngest child saying Joseph fell in. I quickly look over to see Joseph completely under water with hands desperately grasping for the surface, attempting to grab onto something to pull himself out. Instantly, without even thinking, I’m jumping into that pool to grab my son and pull him up to the surface for safety and life. I don’t know how long he had been under, but he was very startled and began to cry. Relieved, I patted him on the back hoping to help clear his lungs a bit.
What a scary experience. Things could have turned out very differently in this story. I am thankful to God for His angels and watchful eye. In between sobs Joseph said he could see up above the water, but he couldn’t get to the surface. I told him that God had saved him. The rest of the evening that was his story. He told his momma, in his little innocent, cute voice - “God saved me.”
Brothers and sisters… how’s your faith today? Jesus is that “puddle-jumper" that keeps us from drowning in the pool of sin and sorrow. He’s also the only one who is able to pull us out and save us, no matter how far down we have sunk and no matter how hard we try to pull ourselves out.
Are you swimming peacefully in the pool of life with Jesus by your side or drowning in its sorrow, woe and sin? Are there others that you pass by everyday who are drowning in sin, sorrow, guilt, shame, addiction, self-righteousness, depression, hopelessness…? How quickly do we respond with love, pity and compassion to those in need of Christ as their Savior and “lifepreserver”?
Peter had a similar experience when walking on water. Things were fine as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but the moment he looked away and to himself he began to sink. His earnest and simple cry was “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:30.
I pray that you first put on Christ as your Lord and Savior to then go out, led by the Holy Spirit, and implore others to find Salvation and life abundantly in Him.
Pastor Jon Holland