Drowning People (Part 1)
By Dawn Neely
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. His disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Mark 4:38 NIV
Drowning doesn’t necessarily mean flailing arms and calling for help. The fact is that often those watching do not know what to look for—because drowning does not look like drowning. Here are the silent signs of drowning.
According to the American Red Cross lifeguard handbook, when a drowning victim is gasping for air, they could also take water into the mouth. They cannot call for help, because they have to breathe before they can speak. They cannot wave for help because a drowning person extends their arms to the sides and presses down to lift their mouth out of the water.
They may remain upright in the water. A drowning person can struggle for only 20-60 seconds before going under. Their eyes are glassy and they may not be able to focus. Their face may be hard to see. Hair might be covering their forehead or eyes. They are quiet. Children usually make noise while swimming. A silent child is a signal to go check on him or her and find out why. Drowning people are trying and failing to swim in a certain direction.
They may not seem in distress. The only way to truly know if someone is drowning, is to ask them, “Are you okay?”
In the Christian life, and especially in the church, there are people who are drowning. They cannot call for help, because they are either proud or ashamed, don’t know where to go or have just forgotten to breathe. People that we meet in our everyday walk of life appear to be normal, going about their business in an orderly fashion. But they may be only a few days from going under or feeling unable to focus due to depression, medical issues, abuse, finances or loneliness.
Their faces may show a picture of happiness and contentment, but underneath the surface they are trying to tread water. These people are trying to walk by faith, but keep getting distracted by the evil one who constantly whispers into their ears threats of failure, “what if’s” and that God is not enough. They are quiet, trying not to draw attention, while secretly longing for a friend. The only way to know if they are drowning is to ask them.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit of God will make us sensitive to those around us that need help. Once we are aware of their despair, we throw out a lifeline of hope through Jesus Christ and offer a sustaining friendship of disciplining and prayer.
A drowning person may want to take you under with them, but never forget the anchor of Jesus Christ holds firm in the midst of the storm. I encourage you to look around and notice those in your church or within your scope of acquaintances that need a friend. Do not be afraid to reach out beyond the safety of your shore to the deep water to offer rescue. You have what you need to stay afloat. Share your Life Savior!
Dear Lord Jesus,
When Your disciples asked you “Don’t you care that we drown?” You already had an answer. You are the Lord of the wind and the waves in our lives that seem insurmountable. You simply ask us to have faith. Help each one of us to be sensitive to those that need a friend. Help us to see people with Your eyes and to be quickened by Your Holy Spirit to speak a word of encouragement. I pray that each word spoken will offer a life raft to those who have lost hope. Thank You Jesus for Your saving grace. In Your name I pray, Amen.
©2019 by Dawn Neely. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Thursday, 05 May 2022.