Caught In A Riptide

Dana, it seems you and Don often go through hard times. However, it is the result of the choices and actions of others. Merely, because you choose to do the right thing, you suffer for it.”

I sat stunned at the impact of her words.

They felt like a safety line tossed into my turbulent day. For my life at the moment seemed like a riptide experience.

Raised near Southern California beaches, I’ve stood countless days at the shore line. Slowing inching my way in, I’ve felt the effect of the tide coming in and going out. Anticipating that pull, I would brace myself to not be swept in.  I casually made my way in the water and often enjoyed playing in the waves. But I always tried to be aware of and/or avoid a riptide.

A riptide occurs in the ocean when two opposing tides meet and develop an abrupt change in the current creating a mighty disturbance. If caught in one, the natural response is to swim to shore, but inevitably get pulled further out and away from it.

One person described a riptide like a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks us under before we know what hit us. Even if we are only wading at knee level, the shore can drop off and the power of the water can suddenly overwhelm us.

Another described it as being stuck on a treadmill that you can’t turn off. In the attempt to try and get off or shut it down more problems surface. In both scenarios, we become exhausted in the struggle and likely need assistance.

There are times a riptide is avoidable. When watching for the warnings signs; such as the rippling effect in the water, or the lifeguards posted warning flags. Still they can take us amateurs by surprise.

Riptides can also occur in circumstances and relationships. Thinking we are swimming in the ocean of life just fine suddenly we’re pulled under. Situations come at us from two opposing forces and we are sucked into the turbulence. Even when we think we’re watching for warning signs we get drawn in.  

I thought life was good and I was doing just fine yet abruptly went under gasping for air. My first response was to fight it. I came bounding back up intending to know “who” did it! I wanted to cast blame.

However I became exhausted in the struggle. Close to drowning and needing help I was stubbornly too embarrassed to ask. I got hooked in pride.

Finally, I stopped fighting. Instead of struggling and trying to make things happen, I yielded. Floating on my back, I merely kept my head above water and prayed, “Lord, I need your help.” I regained my strength and could ride it out.

The Bible never once said life would be easy. But it does say we will never have to do life alone. Joshua 1:5 says, “I will be with you……. I will not fail you or abandon you.”

Thank you Lord that I can trust you’ll be with me and I can believe you will never abandon me in the struggle. Amen