At the time I was in fifth grade our house was two stories and my large double-sized bedroom window looked out towards the neighborhood pool.
If I wasn’t at the pool, I was looking longingly out those windows watching the lifeguards on duty. I was mesmerized. They were so cool and looked like they were having so much fun. Oh how I longed to be a guard too!
The year would finally come when I was old enough to get the training needed to be a certified lifeguard. I couldn’t wait. All I could picture was the “coolness” of me getting to wear a whistle around my neck and sit in a lifeguard stand peering down at everybody. That sounded like a dream job!
Lifeguard lessons begin.
Waking up for my first lesson my soul was stirring with excitement. My energy was in high gear. Finally a dream come true, I thought!
Upon arriving the instructor said “Hop in the water.” I thought, What? Are you crazy? That water was freezing cold and the instructor was not very patient.
Hopping in, I was ready to rescue. Show me the victim – here we go! But that impatient instructor starting shouting out, We’re going to swim. 15 laps! GO!
This was not what I had signed up for. Where was the fun, sexy part of being a lifeguard.
I had signed up to rescue, not swim laps. To lifeguard in a cool apple-red swimsuit, swing a whistle around my wrist, and sit in a white mile-high lifeguard stand. Yep, that’s what I signed up for.
Did someone not tell the instructor that I didn’t like cold water? And hello — I already knew how to swim so what difference was a few laps going to make.
Rescuing is more than it seems.
Whether you are rescuing people out of a cold pool or rescuing people from the depths of despair, there is more to it than meets our dream-filled eyes upon first glance.
There is repetitious training to be taken seriously.
Can you weather cold water?
Can you swim long distances?
Can you communicate with people in a firm way?
Can you clean the pool and bathrooms? Do you know the chemical balance?
To rescue people:
Do you have knowledge to help?
Can you connect others to resources?
Can you shine God’s word upon a situation?
Do you know how to communicate with the outcast and broken?
Can you love the unlovely?
Preparing to rescue is hard work.
There’s a lot of practice that seems totally unnecessary at the time. For a lifeguard there are odd jobs that no one ever sees or rather doesn’t even care about. But plugging through all the tough and rather unsexy-unwanted preparation becomes nothing when you rescue your first drowning victim. To know you had a part in brining them successfully to safety – priceless.
It’s then you know you’ve prepared for such a time as this.
Bathing yourself in God’s word, taking bold scary steps out into a world the frightens you, and learning from those different than you sometimes seems overwhelming. But on the days when you see a woman walk away from prostitution, a young girl check in to detox, and even a homeless friend get a house . . .
It’s then you know God has prepared you for such a time as this. To help others find their way back to safety.
QUESTION: Did you ever want to be a lifeguard?
After wrestling with the word rescue for months, I decided to bring this word to life. I’ll expose the truths stirring in my soul regarding this daring, venturesome, and fearless word. Oh how I’d love your input too!