Out of My Control
May 8, 2022 | by The Fellowship
My father was very strict. When teaching you something, he expected it to be remembered. For the most part as children, we held on to what he stressed as important.
He loved to swim. When I was six, we moved from Minnesota to Florida where I exchanged playing in calm lakes to romping in the waves of the sea. Dad taught me to hold my breath underwater and I paid attention. He made sure I understood to take my deepest breath, close my eyes, and hold my nose before I went under.
It was a day when the beach was very clean, the white sand was warm, and the ocean water called us to play! My siblings and I jumped in and splashed vigorously at each other, competing to knock each other down with salt water. Mom sat on the shore sheltered by a beach umbrella. She never went in the water because of being traumatized in childhood after seeing her cousin drown. She just came along to the beach for peace and to watch us play.
Dad swam out into the deep. I was in waist-high water. My brother and sister left me for shallower water, searching for shells and other treasures they hoped to find. I was more interested in going out farther in the water like my dad. I had pushed against the incoming waves and was walking in high water when a strong pull enveloped my legs. It was an undertow and I had walked into a drop-off area. Immediately I took the deepest breath possible, closed my eyes, and pinched my nose because I knew I was going under.
Suddenly, I was standing on the ocean floor and the current above me was keeping me there. I tried to jump up, but the forces were too strong against my little body and they kept me underwater. I called out in my mind -- “What do I do?”
An adult voice told me to “Keep your eyes closed and be still!” I obeyed because of the authority of the voice. Being that deep, I feared seeing scary sea animals like sharks or stinging jellyfish if I opened my eyes. Then I was told to keep holding my breath and stay calm because my dad would find me. I relaxed and waited. Then the voice said to release my breath a little at a time in intervals so the bubbles would send a signal so Dad could find me. I now had a task and it kept my mind busy and I stayed calm.
All the time underwater, I did not fear, question, or doubt -- but had faith I would be okay. When I had let out all of the air in my young lungs and the last bubbles left my mouth. I thought, “Where is my father?”
Just then, two powerfully strong arms yanked me upward. Instantly, I was above the water. I began laughing with joy when I saw his face because what the voice had said to me came true!
“Dad, did you see the bubbles I made for you?” were my first words. He laughed and explained that he found me because mom kept giving him directions from the shoreline of where to look. He saw no bubbles.
My mother, my dad, my sister and brother all talk about this event differently. My dad likes to highlight the part of me laughing the minute I surfaced and said it was because I had no fear of the water -- just like him. He calls me his “daredevil” when he tells it. My mom, fearing I would drown, recalls it as a time she went crazy shouting desperate prayers for God to help! My siblings recall it as the day they found shells and pocket change in the sandy water and believe I was just showing off to get attention.
I have often reflected on this event. I try not to waste my precious breath in a crisis. During my potential drowning, I kept calm and let go of fear because of that heavenly voice. I really had no control over the outcome, even though as a child I thought I did by blowing bubbles. I trusted in God that it was going to be OK … and it was. Throughout my life, I have learned to talk to God when things are out of my control because He will work it out for my good and His glory.
When I am afraid, I will trust in You.