Written by Rev. Micah James 

When I was about seven, I attended a birthday party at the local swimming pool. There were tons of people there, in addition to all of the friends who were part of the party. We were running, playing, swimming, and diving. This pool had the awesome feature of having a low dive and a high dive. Only the bravest of the brave would dare go off the high dive, so of course it became the “double dare” challenge of the party.

One by one I saw my friends scale the ladder to attempt the dive. I was not the best of swimmers, but when dared to do it, I was not going to say no. I slowly walked to join the line. Inside I was terrified. I watched as each person in front of me hit the water with increased force. “I can do this,” I told myself. I really should have listened to my voice of reason, the voice that was telling me, “You’re not that great a swimmer and it is okay to sit this one out.” But I didn’t and I climbed. When I got to the top, I tried to turn back but the ladder was stacked with the next brave souls in line. So I jumped. I jumped properly and gracefully and did not flop. I was proud of myself, “I did it!”

What I was not expecting was what came next. I surfaced into a crowded pool with loud, splashing, somewhat inconsiderate swimmers. The jump had knocked the breath out of me and I needed to get up and stay up for air, but I couldn’t find a way. I didn’t have the strength or the energy to push up and through the swimmers to find the side of the pool. I was yelling and no one noticed. I was flailing and no one saw. I was drowning.

I don’t know how long it lasted, but it felt like forever. Finally, a small hand reached out from the side. She laid on her belly and reached as far as she could until she got my hand and pulled me to the poolside ladder. I was safe. I was saved. The first deep breath of that moment is something I will never forget.

As I reflect back on this now, especially as we consider what it means to “be saved”, it reminds me we are all drowning in one way or another. Debt, fear, hurt, inauthentic living, lies, cheats, self-centeredness, the never ending quest for more… these are our waters of burden. We try to save ourselves from it, but we don’t have the energy nor the strength. We need a Savior. We need a Savior who will reach out and grab us from our drowning. We need to rejoice in the freedom we have been given from a God that loves each of us individually and lifts us from these waters to breathe again.

Prayer - “Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory” (Prayer based on 2 Timothy 2:10). 

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