Going Under

It was a beautiful summer evening, and my daughter had just gotten home from a long shift at work. We changed into our PJ’s and had the movie and wine already picked out. Too hot to walk the dog, we decided to let her swim in the canal for some exercise before we settled in for the evening. Unfortunately, neither of us looked at the water level before throwing the toy in and watching her leap joyfully after it.

The winds had pushed sound water deep into the canals that day, and the water was almost up to the bottom of the docks, leaving no head room for a swimming dog. The dog ramp is on the opposite side of the dock, which means that Georgia has to swim under the dock to get to the ramp. Seeing that the water was so high, she refused. The next ten minutes were sheer terror. She became more and more exhausted, and we got more and more panicked as we tried to direct her back out into the canal to swim around the boat parked at the dock, so that she could access the ramp from the other side. She couldn’t see the ramp from that angle, so she wasn’t having it.

Finally my daughter jumped in and swam Georgia back to the side of the dock where I was lying flat, thinking we could push and pull her up. It should be noted that Georgia weighs 110 lbs and was in a full blown panic at this point. Jamie pushed, I pulled her collar, and at one point it was now Jamie going under for the third time. In that moment I made a “Sophie’s Choice” that if I could only save one, it would of course be the daughter. But at the last minute we succeeded, and got Georgia up on the dock.

We were shaking like leaves in a winter wind. Georgia shook the water off her fur and pranced over to the side of the dock where we throw the toy and looked back as though to say, “Again?”

We laugh about it now, but that feeling of sheer panic at watching both of them going under water has stayed with me to this day. I think most of us have an innate fear of drowning, and I can say without hesitation that water, even in its most placid form, terrifies me. So moving water, where you can’t touch the bottom and you can’t get out, is especially frightening for me.

I am sure there have been times in your life where you felt as though you were “going under”, and maybe for the third time. Marriages go under, finances go under, health goes under, relationships go under, and the list goes on. Every week in my office somebody sits on my couch and hopes for a life line to be cast out, and then hopes they have the strength to get a grip and hold on.

Next time you are nose-deep in water, read this:

Hebrews 6:18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

This passage is a beautiful reminder that Jesus is your lifeline. He stands in the Holiest of Holies between you and God with the lifeline secured in his hands. Like the Old Testament high priest Melchizedek, who served early Jerusalem (‘Salem) as a King-Priest, Jesus has both the authority of a king to command the waves around you to CEASE, and the authority of the high priest to offer intercession and sacrifice on your behalf. His life line is anchored at the cross, where his life was given on the altar of eternity so that you could pull yourself out of deep water.

So get a grip. Get a grip on his promises. Get a grip on his Word. Get a grip on LIFE. Grab ahold of your lifeline with both hands….and never let go.

Photo credit Jamie Haas Mathis.

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