*I’m not a scientist (as we have previously established) but I tried to pay attention in school. That said, take all scientific information noted here with the lens of grace and do additional research if the science is important to you.*
Recently there was a story in the news about two children who got caught in a rip current. A pretty common event around the beach but it made the news when the people who tried to rescue them got caught up too. All the affected swimmers were eventually saved when a group of 80 complete strangers linked arms and created a human chain from the shore to the swimmers and helped them to safety. The story took over news cycles for several days because of the bravery and kindness of strangers to rescue the boys and family in danger.
There are so many lessons in the story. Be aware of those in need. Don’t limit who you help. Sometimes it takes a village to save a few. But what about the lesson for the boys who initially got caught? I’m sure their family made it a point to educate the boys about how to handle a rip current if they were to ever get back in the water.
By my understanding, a rip current is created when water at the shore finds a channel to flow back out to sea. When the waves are washing in rapidly or are high, the amount of water flowing out creates a significant pull – current – that can “rip” loose floating debris or people out to the ocean. Human instinct says, “That current is too strong and it’s taking me where I don’t want to go, so I need to swim as hard as I can to get to safety.” Unfortunately, the current is stronger than the swimmer and they become exhausted and may drown before they are rescued.
It’s not the current that takes them under. It’s their exhaustion from fighting something bigger than them.
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.
Good grief! Why would I pick the saddest piece of the Easter story right now?! Are we not all overwhelmed enough by the fear of rip currents?! That’s my point.
At the darkest hour. When things were as bad as they could get. With oppression, fear, anger, confusion, despair and exhaustion at their peak, Jesus let go. He released himself into God’s will.
You see, that’s how you deal with a rip current. When the current gets past the breakers and waves that are pushing to shore, it loses it’s power and releases into the open ocean. To save yourself from the rip, you have to let it take you out past the trouble and into the open calmer water. The funny thing is, if you swim down shore from the current and start in toward safety, the waves will carry you back in. The same waves that 10 yards earlier were creating the rush of water that threatened your life, now have the power to save you.
For two years, the breakers of life have been crashing and I kept feeling myself being pulled harder and harder away from shore. From who I knew myself to be in Christ and what I was called to do for the Kingdom. I was fighting with all I was to stay the person others expected me to be and handle my issues bravely the way I wanted to. In my power.
But suddenly I found myself broken, exhausted and drowning. No fight left and no sight line of the shore. At my darkest hour. When things were as bad as they could get. With oppression, fear, anger, confusion, despair and exhaustion at their peak, I was reminded that to be saved, I had to let go. I had to hand it over to God – all of it.
And now God is taking me out to sea. I don’t know how far the current will carry me but I know at the end, there is a peaceful place. And when it’s time, the waves will come again and push me back to shore. The same troubles that create the problem can, after God heals, bring us back to a new place in faith.
That’s another thing about rip currents. When you release and let yourself be drawn out to sea and washed back to shore, you don’t come back to where you washed out in the first place. You come back to a whole new place. Sometimes as a whole new person. Or like a person resurrected in Christ.