Sunday, June 01, 2008

Quiet Moments With God--Don't Be a Follower

Aren’t we told to follow? Yes—Christ, but not necessarily people.

Years ago, when picnicking with friends at a nearby river, I followed when I should have stood my ground. We were having a fine time until it was decided everyone should go swimming. I knew the spot chosen wasn’t safe, especially not for children. I voiced my qualms, but was pooh-poohed. I gave in.

The little ones waded in a quiet pool at the edge of the river. The danger lay in a strong current that ran alongside the pool. With ferocity it coursed into the main channel. My son, Paul, was only seven but he wanted to be like the “big boys” and pushed the limits of his permitted swimming area.

After warning him several times to stay clear of the current he took one step too many into dangerous waters and was caught by the surge, which pulled him toward what would be almost certain death. He wasn’t a strong swimmer, but he fought hard. Several of us charged in after him. As I made my way my prayer was nothing more than absolute dependency on the Lord and a shriek of, “God!”

By the time I reached Paul three people were already unsuccessfully fighting the river’s pull, trying to get him to safety. It seemed we would all drown. Then my feet found a foot hold that helped me keep my chin just above water and offered leverage. I managed to grab one of the rescuers hands who had a tight grasp on my son’s shirt. I wrenched him toward me and together we pulled Paul to safety.

When I gathered my little boy into my arms I was filled with a flood of emotions. I was furious with him for disobeying, disappointed in myself for yielding to others so unwisely, and filled with gratitude for God’s protective and loving hand. For days afterward the scene reeled through my mind and I grappled with what had almost happened and why.

There were many mistakes made that day, but what held my thoughts most was my failure to protect my child. I’d known better than to allow the children to play in dangerous waters, but was afraid to disagree with the voices of others.

In Isaiah 8:11-13 it says, The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: Do not fear what they fear and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”

We are human and therefore can be swayed by the pull of the world. It takes strength to stand against what is seen as acceptable. Remembering that we do not stand alone, that the God of the universe stands with us, should strengthen our resolve and our courage. My son fought against the force of the river and managed to hang on. I fought the tide of opinion and failed to prevail.

It was a powerful lesson. I have no doubt we are called to remain strong in the Lord, to stand for what is true and right. Scripture says we are either for Him or we are against Him. If it is this simple, then what can we do but choose our Lord above all else?

Therefore, seek Him, know Him, and honor Him. There is no other way toward fulfillment for believers. There is much at stake, more than we can know. It was my weakness that nearly cost my son his life. As followers of Christ, we need to consider what our spiritual weakness may cost us and others.

Grace and peace to you from God.


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