The One with the Lifeguard
Beach chair: $20 Suntan oil spf 15: $10 Boogie boards: $10 Watching Gracie Willett get saved by a tanned “he must work out” lifeguard: Priceless.
Here’s the setup. April, Gracie, Olivia, and I went to the beach to get our last day of sun and fun in before they had to leave the next day. We set up the chairs, sprayed the sunscreen on, and off they went into the water while April and I sat back to enjoy some girl time and relaxation in the warm sun. The flag was yellow which usually means the tide is ok for most people, but I did notice it was a little rougher than usual, so instead of lying back with eyes closed, we sat up and watched the girls. As we sat there watching, suddenly out of nowhere, a lifeguard whizzed past us in a flash of bronze skin into the waves, when we noticed a dad trying to hold up three small kids by their arms. The lifeguard rescued the dad and had two of the kids in his arms and the dad came behind him with one.
Now let me back up and say, our lifeguards at the beach are not your normal teenage lifeguards that hang out at a local pool. They are part of the fire department, and they are extremely serious about their job, they are very friendly, and they are also normally sitting all day long with nothing to do but sit, watch, and occasionally work out by doing some various sit-ups and pull ups on the bar constructed for them beside their lifeguard tower. They work in teams so while one is watching, the other can do other things. So, you have to know that after sitting for so long, they probably jump at the opportunity to rescue someone.
After we watched the lifeguard rescue the dad with the three kids, we thought, we better sit-up and pay attention to our girls. The girls stayed mostly close to the beach and were having a blast with the larger than normal waves. They started getting out a little deeper and April stood up to motion them to come closer in, and we noticed that Gracie was struggling just a bit with her boogie board and the waves. In a flash, the lifeguard was back in the ocean and had Gracie in his arms pulling her out of the waves. Honestly, we were a bit concerned, but really felt Gracie was okay, she just needed a second for that wave to calm down. I am not saying that I was not glad and thankful the lifeguard was so sharp and on task, just felt maybe it was a touch dramatic. But Gracie loved every minute of it and of course April thanked the lifeguard. The lifeguard then put out a red sign for people to not swim in that certain area, that a riptide might have developed there.
A few minutes later the husbands arrived. We told them about the drama and of course, Wes was concerned and was questioning us a little about why we were letting them be out there after the family instance. We then started teasing about all the drama and came up with the phrase at the top to post on our Facebook pages. The next day, I began playing with the whole scenario in my head and wondered how I could do a nice light blog post out of the incident.
I thought about the lifeguard at first and that Jesus Christ is always ready to be our rescuer and deliverer at any moment, but then I began to look at my own life and what Father God is teaching me right now.
When I see hurting people, people who are following the wrong path and seemingly lost and drowning in the waves of life, I want to rush out and be the rescuer in their lives, to solve their problems by telling them exactly what they should do to get delivered. Honestly, so I can be a hero in their lives, so I will be looked up to, to feel needed. What has become so abundantly apparent to me as I have walked through some storms is that I cannot save or rescue anyone, no matter how quick I am, strong I am, or how much praying I do. While that is an extremely humbling thought, it is also a very freeing one. I think back to the movie, “The Guardian” when they are training, Ashton Kutcher has to punch the flailing, panicking, drowning victim in order to knock him out so he can rescue him and save his life. Sometimes the victim is too helpless to know they need rescuing, and they fight you in order to retain the illusion of control. I don’t have the ability to do what is sometimes necessary in someone’s life, nor do I have the Omniscient Wisdom that is required in order to know exactly what someone needs. Sometimes our lights need to be knocked out in order for us to listen to God and although sometimes I would like to try to knock some people’s lights out in order to get their attention, I don’t have the right or the ability to do that. That is reserved for God alone. Only He knows the right timing, the right setting, the amount of pressure to apply and how much pressure one of His children can take before they come to surrender or before they are broken beyond repair. However humbling that realization is for me, it is also freedom! If that responsibility was on my shoulders, I would fail so miserably.
Later on that day, I watched Westley and Buddy back out with the girls in the waves. First of all, the girls would have never gone back in the waves without them, but dads most of the time, have that reassuring, “You’ll be safe with me out there” feeling. I remember the time Gracie was a baby and she jumped into our pool, Westley reached in without hesitation and pulled her out. Over time, Gracie learned her dad loved her and would never do anything to harm her, but always wanted to be her protector, provider, and rescuer. She also knows discipline from her dad but knows that he is “training her in the way she should go.” I think you see where I am going with this. Both Wes and Buddy were very attentive to the girls helping and telling them how to ride the waves and lifting them out of the waves when it began to get a little rough. As I reflected on that part of the day, I realized another beautiful part of the story. When we are in relationship with God and we know Him and trust Him, in the very scariest moments of our lives, we can brave that season of life because we know He will not let us drown in the waves. Still, Father God is not quick to always rush in and rescue us from the rough waves of life, but as our Father, He teaches us how to ride the waves, what to do when the waves get too rough, and always, always, is right there with us, ready to rescue us if the waves just get too rough to survive. Only He knows that moment, we can’t know that moment in our humanness. But if He always ran in to rescue us out of the waves, we would never learn how to trust Him and to teach us to enjoy the ride with Him by our side. Isaiah 43:1-3
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2When you go through deep waters,I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression,you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
3For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.