Earlier this week Aunt Kathy left a message on my cell phone for me to check out the CBS morning show. There was to appear a story about a man and his young son who were separated in the ocean by the rip current, both surviving after treading water all night long and being rescued by the Coast Guard helicopter the next day.
"You need to watch it so next time we will know what to do," Aunt Kathy said in her message, referring to the time last summer when we had a very close and terrifying call with the undertow at the beach. Unfortunately, I did not get the message in time to catch the story, but tonight I read a touching article about the event. (Check out the full story http://news.aol.com/article/dad-credits-boys-illness-for-sea/169626?icid=100214839x1209456653x1200503775)
According to the article, the boy, who has severe communication difficulties related to autism, and his father quoted lines from his favorite movies in order to continuously hear each other's voices. "To Infinity..." the father would say, then "And Beyond" the boy would reply. This routine continued until eventually they were so far separated that they could no longer hear the other's voice.
I can't help but wonder if the little boy did not rely upon the memory of his father's voice and their much rehearsed routines to help him survive the raging sea. All night long surely the child rehearsed the words that he always heard his father say. Surely his focus wasn't on the rough waters or the possible "marine life" which could have been encircling him.
"The boy lacks a fear of death because of the autism and finds comfort in the water," the article quoted the dad. Perhaps that's true that the child lacks a fear of death, but I can't help but wonder if his calm disposition didn't come strictly from this ocean water, but from previous hours spent with his father not only in water, but also in rehearsing their "lines" together.
Wow, to be so spiritually prepared when the rough currents of life try to sweep us away as this child was prepared for his long ordeal. Are we spending so much time with our Father that in the most bleak circumstances we can hear His voice? Would it keep us going? Do we have such a routine with Him that in good and bad times we can keep our head above the water?
Is that what it means to hide His Word in my heart? Psalm 119:11
Is this how He fulfills His promise to keep up in perfect peace, when we have our mind stayed on Him? Isaiah 26:3
Is this the secret to being content in all circumstances? Phil 4:11
Is this how He promises to be with us when we pass through deep waters? Isaiah 43:2
As much as is within my power, I plan never to be caught by a rip current again. However, I've lived long enough to know that the currents in life can be even more overwhelming. When those times come, and they will as sure at the ocean tide rises and falls, I'm thankful that we have a Hope and an Anchor to sustain us when the water rises. Be prepared for the storms by hiding His Word in your heart and keep your mind focused on Him. Remember to look for Him when you must pass through the deep waters.
Finally, when He sends the coast guard with a helicopter and a rope, and He will one way or another, grab on and hold tight!