I thought I was going to die. I was a young boy who had not yet learned to swim when I accidentally slipped off an inner tube in deep water. My family had gone to a lake near our home town for a day of fun and recreation. It happened so fast I did not have time to cry out for help before going under. I opened my eyes to see the sun silhouetting the inner tube floating on the surface above me, but I could not get to it. I could not scream for help while under water. No one would hear me, and I would lose my last breath. My lungs began to burn for lack of oxygen. I remember thinking this was probably it for me. I was done, helpless even as I struggled mightily to get to safety, but getting nowhere. I was sinking into an underwater grave.
Suddenly I felt my father’s right hand grab my arm and lift me out of the water and onto the safety of the inner tube. Just in time, my father rescued me and saved my life. He escorted me back to the shallow water, where I stayed the rest of the day, numb and quiet from what had happened. All these years later, if I close my eyes, I can see that inner tube floating on the water above me, safety just out of my own reach.
The words “underwater”, “upside down”, and “sunk” are common terms used to describe a situation where things are spiraling downward, helplessly out of control, and heading for a very negative outcome. Lately, underwater is used to describe a situation caused by the 2008 Great Recession where the value of a home is less than the mortgage against the property. If one paid off the mortgage debt, they would have paid considerably more for the home than it was currently worth.
An underwater situation could be something other than financial. It might be something at home or work involving health or a relationship. It might be a physical injury, or a broken heart. It might be a desire of the heart, or a dream that has gone unfulfilled.
2 Kings 6: 1-7 speaks of an underwater situation. The school of prophets wanted to build a place near the Jordan River where they could meet with Elisha. To start construction, they borrowed an axe so they could cut poles. While cutting down a tree, the axe head fell into the river. When the axe head went into the water, it created an obligation or debt that had to be repaid. The borrower has a moral duty to return the borrowed item to the owner. If the students had another axe head, or the money to buy an axe head, they would not have had to borrow one. Replacing the underwater axe head was a real problem. They cried out for help.
In verses 6 and 7, Elisha, the “father” of this school of prophets, threw a stick in the water where the axe head had gone under. The iron floated to the surface, where it was retrieved. The underwater situation was miraculously remedied. What seemed hopelessly underwater was rescued.
In prayer recently, the Lord took me back to that time I fell off the inner tube, and He told me two things:
- He said “If your (natural) father, out of his love for you, would rescue you from an underwater situation like that, how much more will I come to your rescue?”
- He also said “Your (natural) father had his eyes on you the whole time. Even when you drifted out into the deep water where he told you not to go, he never took his eyes off you. Neither do I take my eyes off you.”
Concerning the first point, that word rescue is somewhat interchangeable with save or redeem. Since He used the term rescue in explaining it to me, hear what these scriptures have to say about rescue:
- Judges 6: 8-9- “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I snatched (rescued) you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land.”
- From the story of David and Goliath, David says in I Samuel 17: 37- “The Lord who delivered (rescued) me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver (rescue) me from the hand of this Philistine.” He was referring to the giant Goliath.
- Psalm 107 begins with “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” The rest of the chapter tells why. It is a long list of times the Lord delivered (rescued) His people from trouble. Verses 19 and 20 say “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved (rescued) them from their distress. He sent forth His word and healed them.”
- Isaiah 43:1-2 says “Fear not, for I have redeemed (rescued) you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
- In Colossians 1: 13-14, the apostle Paul writes “ For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Emphasis mine.)
My father rescued me. The Bible contains many references and promises that our heavenly Father will also come to our rescue, as evidenced by the scriptures above.
Concerning the second point, hear these scriptures that affirm the Lord keeps His eyes on us:
- 2 Chronicles 16:9 says “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
- Zechariah 2:12 says “….for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye….”
What I have now learned from this experience as a youth is this: My father had his eye on me the whole time I was having an underwater experience, and he rescued me just in time. Your heavenly Father will do the same for you.
You may have caused your underwater situation, or it may have been an accident. It might be something that just happened to you, such as the collapse of the real estate market that caused the value of your home to drop. Life happens. It may be taking you down to the point you can’t breathe, or sleep, or get any relief. In fact, you may feel if you don’t get some help you may die.
God specializes in underwater rescues. He will respond to your cry for help. Like retrieving that axe head from under the water, He is the only one who can bring miraculous help. Call out to Him. He loves you so much, and His eye is on you.