Drowning?

My youngest daughter started swim lessons this week.  It is her second year, and to be honest I almost didn't sign her up.  By the end of summer last year she was jumping from the diving board and swimming to the side of the pool after a short confidence break in my arms once she surfaced from the dive.  This year, however, it was as if she had never swam before.

Our first visit to the pool I asked her to stay where she could touch until I got everything settled and could get in with her.  She got a little overconfident and swam out to where she could just barely touch, and her feet slipped out from under her.  She instantly panicked.  I saw it on her face as I was entering the pool.  I began to push through the crowd to get to her as I saw her bob in the water as she attempted to right herself.  It lasted about 5 seconds but it was enough to convince her she could no longer swim.  I spent the day trying to restore her confidence but by the time we left I stopped at the lifeguard table and added her name to the swim lessons list.

This past Monday I saw this video popping up all over social media about the dangers of drowning.  In a lot of cases a drowning person doesn't LOOK like a drowning person.  To the casual observer it just looks like a kid splashing around in the pool.  The adults around my daughter, the ones right beside her had no idea she was struggling.  It's a scary thought for those of us with kids, but then God laid another thought on my heart...

In this world we are surrounded by people who are drowning, and more often than not we don't even recognize that they are in trouble much less reach out a hand to help.  I am not talking about the obvious people, those who are homeless, living a lifestyle that is blatantly opposed to God, addicted.  While all of those people are drowning in their sins, I was reminded that there are many who appear to be okay and yet they are still struggling to inhale the breath of life.  These are the people that seem to be "ok".  The person you work with, the cashier that is scanning your groceries, the neighbor with a newborn baby and a husband that works long hours, the single father struggling to make ends meet and still be there for his kids.

We are surrounded by people who just need to know they aren't alone, people that thirst for a kind word or a helping hand.  And yet we, who are called to love them, often barely recognize them, much less reach out to help them.  It is easy when you are "in the pool" to shift focus to those who are "yours".  After all, you know them and love them.  But Jesus reminds us that our calling is to care for more than just those who are in our inner circle, but to care for all his children.

This first begins with those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. (Romans 12:13, Romans 15:1, Galatians 6:2)  But beyond that, we are called to care for those in the world.  Did you know that of the 132 intimate contacts between Jesus and individuals in the Bible, 122 of them occurred either when Jesus went to them or while He was on His way somewhere?  In other words, Jesus met the people who needed Him most where they were.  He didn't require them to come to Him, or to visit the temple or synagogue.  He knew the people in the world were drowning, and just like a drowning person in the water they needed to be rescued.  We don't expect a drowning person to go to the lifeguard stand and request help.  Why do we expect the people of the world to do any differently?

So today I encourage you to look around you for those who are drowning and offer some help.  What does this look like?  Sometimes it just means to smile at the cashier and really see them while they scan your groceries.  Others times it may mean noticing the mom in the beat up car with three kids in the backseat who is only putting $5 in the gas tank and anonymously paying to fill the tank for her.  Other times it may mean just listening to someone, just being there for them.  And maybe, just maybe a door will open for you to tell them about Jesus.  But first you have to love them.  After all, you don't give swim lessons while a person is drowning.  First you address the immediate need.

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