“Please Help Me – I’m Drowning!”

Man has learned to communicate in a million ways. About 90 % of all methods are non-verbal. Everything from knee jerking to raising one eyebrow, your face can say a thousand words. Remember the full page of the newspaper CALVIN, showing different outrageous expressions. When the author of Calvin and his imaginary tiger quit writing, the world lost a great image of imagination and expression. Words express ideas but nothing compared to body language. Words can be explained away – the look on the face and in the eyes cannot be denied.
Solomon wrote, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stirs up anger. where no wood is the fire goes out” (Proverbs 15:1; 26:20). James writes, “If any man offend not in words, the same is a perfect man . . . but the tongue is a little member and boasts great things . . . For the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:2,5,8).
On the other hand, it is the tongue that proclaims the gospel of Christ. Paul said, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to us who are saved, it is the power of God . . . It pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe . . . For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”
( I Corinthians 1:18-21;Romans 10:17).
Many years ago I was instrumental in establishing a Christian Camp in O’Lena State Park in North Florida. Being a credited life guard, I was on the high stand when a most unusual event happened. We’ll call her name ‘Janie’. She was under-aged for camp being 9, but the board allowed her to register and attend camp because her older sister was enrolled.
The beautiful Suwannee River that traversed the camp was our ‘swimming pool’. The river was black on the bottom with fallen leaves but was crystal clear as the current brought is gently through the camp site. A section of the river was bottomed with sand and roped off for safe swimming. The cool refreshing sweet water was a joy in the July sun.
I was perched on the tower one day when a pair of deep blue eyes arrested my attention. Lifeguards are noted for seeing the unseen, and watching for the kind of behavior that needs help. Janie had evidently stepped in a hole and resurfaced outside the safety ropes. There she was, submerged like an oversized doll, drifting just beneath the surface of the water. Strange, she wasn’t struggling but her large blue eyes were desperately searching for mine. I had been in rescues a number of times but I had never seen eyes like that before. They were searching, pleading, searching for help. You could hear them say, “Mr. Jack, I know you have a busy schedule and are in demand for numerous duties, but I need you now! Moments later will be too late. I can’t breathe under the water and if I die, the whole camp will die. My funeral will mark the end of O’Lena.” Bubbles coming from her mouth were crying, “I’m slipping away. In a moment it will be too late. Please come right now, if you can see me, please come right now!”
A shrill blast from the whistle alerted the other swimmers, a jump from the tower and a shallow dive followed. The gasping of air, the rescue was made. Nose and mouth were cleared and the residue of water was coughed up and everyone jumping for joy. A tragedy was averted. A life was saved. A little girl, too young to attend came was revived and safe again.
Her blue eyes said what her arms did as she slipped them around my neck and kissed my cheek again and again saying, “I love you Mr. Jack, I really love you”.
As a lifeguard, that was one rescue you would never forget. A disaster had been averted. A funeral had been foiled. Tears that would have flowed like a river turned into shouts of joy and tears of happiness.
Prayer was said that day with a greater reverence for life.
At different times during the week while standing about the camp I would feel a wee little hand slip up into mine. It was the same pair of blue eyes. She had found her savior and he was something very special to her.
That night as I knelt by my bunk, and I thought of the One who died in my place to save me. Even now, many years later, as I retell this story again, I tear up from the emotions of that day that have never really left me. I slip my hand up into His. He is my Savior and someone very special to me. I love Him, I really do love Him.

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