Swimming The River

February 28, 1999
by Michael Steckel

Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

About ten years ago, and a year before I became a Christian, I was doing some things which I should have never done. One such incident occurred while camping with two friends. We had started to drink, and I had had enough to cloud my judgement. Our campsite was next to a river that was about 50 yards across, and I decided to swim this river because it was there. I talked one of my friends into coming with me, and we started out. I was about 20 feet from the opposite bank when I heard my friend yelling for me. As I turned to look back I saw he was in trouble, thrashing around in the water and nearly drowning. As I turned back, swimming to him, I was thinking, "This is what you read about in the papers: a drunk drowns in a river." As I got closer to him, he was in a great panic. He grabbed me and tried to climb on my back so that he could stay on top of the water. Now I started thinking, "Great, this is what you really read about: two drunks drown." As he climbed on top of me I went under and hit the bottom of the river. I got away from my friend and stood up. The water was about three and a half feet deep. My friend was still trying his hardest to save himself from drowning. Eventually he started to grow tired with his efforts and I told him to let me help him. He finally realized that I was standing next to him, so I grabbed him and we both stood there. He finally calmed down and we made it back to our site.

Now this story reminds me of the saving grace God has given us. We cannot do it on our own. There is nothing we can do to merit it. We can be like my friend and try but we only grow tired from our efforts and will soon sink into the depths. Instead, we can relax and allow the life saver to grab us and take us to the shore. God is that life saver who scoops us out of the dark waters and saves us. So we do not need to fight him but instead be grateful for what he has done for us.

Prayer: Lord, there is only gratitude in my heart for what you have done for me. I could have struggled and tried all I wanted and all that would have happened is I would have grown tired. But you, in your great mercy, did not leave me to myself. Instead you saved me and I will be forever thankful. In Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Michael Steckel
Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

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