The Snorkeling Incident

2 Samuel 22:3 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.  He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior – “  David’s Song of Praise

green coral reef under water

The ocean is so beautiful and so terrifying at the same time.  I love the sounds of the waves and seagulls and families playing together.  I love the boats and jet skis and I’ve been on a couple of cruises that I’ve enjoyed very much.  It reminds me how powerful and big God is.  I picture Him walking out on the water and calming the sea with His words.

I love Seaworld and watching undersea life on television.  I cried the first time I showed my kids a live Shamu show!  It was so magical and I thanked God for allowing me to make a memory like that.

But here is my amazing story I want to share with you about a near death experience I had last summer…

We went on a cruise with friends as we have done before.  We went to Cozumel and bought an excursion which included a beautiful resort and snorkeling.  I had no intention of snorkeling but would go and support.

When we arrived to the resort that day, my curiosity peaked as I saw all that they would see and it WAS a once in a lifetime adventure.  It wasn’t necessarily on my bucket list but I was curious.  I do love a good adventure!  I talked myself into giving it a try.  However, I was not at all prepared.

I did not have the proper clothes/bathing suit, did not have my contacts in but wearing glasses, had no water shoes and have had no experience breathing with a snorkel nor am I the greatest swimmer!  I had determination and a dream.  Ok, this was a disaster from the start!

At this particular snorkeling spot, there was no training and just a roped off area way in the distance where you were “forbidden” to venture past.  You were assumed to be “good” at this and given the gear and told where not to go or touch.  The walls were jagged and deep and had many sea urchins attached that could cut you.  They said to, “Be careful”.  I was already having second thoughts…

blue and yellow flippers

I put on my mask, snorkel and fins (which I have never swam in before) and couldn’t see that well as I left my glasses on the edge of the wall.  There was a ladder to help us climb down into the water and it had a small platform to sit on submerged in the water.

One by one, people just glided into the water so gracefully.  It looked so easy and even children were doing it (supervised, of course).  Our friend went first, then my husband.  I sat on the edge for what seemed like 10 minutes.  With a lot of coaxing from strangers as well as my husband and friend, I decided to try.

I let go of the ladder and immediately drifted forward.  The current was so strong!  I saw colored fish in blue like Dory in Finding Nemo, yellow tang and some clown fish.  Then it dawned on me that I could not touch the bottom.  I could not touch or hold onto anything!  I began to panic.  My husband and friend were pulled out by the current past me and all I could think about was getting back to the ladder.  I was a good 20 feet from it.

2 Samuel 22:5 “The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.  The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.”

The harder I tried to swim, the more tired I got.

The current overwhelmed me and my husband came like superman to help me.  I was now about to drown and he fought as hard as he could to get me to the ladder.  He was coughing up water because of my splashing and now I was afraid to pull him under too. The current was incredibly strong.

2 Samuel 22:17-18  “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me.”

He told me to just relax and let him pull me.  The only rational thought that came to me was I don’t want to drown him too. My husband says he had never seen that look on my face before which said I had given up.  I was completely exhausted.  He flung me into the ladder like a hero and when I hit it, I grabbed it like a security blanket.

Our friend was struggling to get back and when she got close, I grabbed her too.

They made sure I was safe, rested a bit and then ventured out again when I encouraged them too.  That seems funny to write but the beauty that was there outweighed their fear of getting back in.  They were confident swimmers.  They had peace to get back out there, I didn’t.  I remained on the ladder watching the fish from there.

At that moment, is when I had a conversation with God.  

A voice told me and it was almost audible…“He is excited to see you too.”

Then God said “You can get back in that water and you will come see Me (in heaven).  Or you can stay and live your life.”

God gave me a choice:  live or come see Me.  The choice was mine. But He wanted me to choose to live because I wasn’t.  I was stuck.  I was motionless in my life like someone took my toy away and I let them.

Circumstances come and knock us off course and sometimes we are just numb.  I couldn’t move in that water, I froze.  I was waiting to be overtaken by the waves because it was all too much for me.  Sometimes life is that way.  We quit living.

My husband and friend had now drifted a ways off and were unable to return back to the ladder again.  As my husband thought in is head, God, where do we go?  How do we get out of here?

A man appeared on the edge of the rocks.  He didn’t say anything but pointed to the right. We believe he was an angel.  Though he didn’t say a word, my husband heard him speak clearly where to go and he gave him a thumbs up.  My husband swam to our friend to let her know where to go and when he turned back around, the man had disappeared.  I was sitting on the pier watching and I never saw a man.

Later at dinner, my husband and I cried at how close we came to losing each other.  It has forever changed our marriage and purpose in life.

Another thing that God showed me, is I did not call out to God in my distress.

I wanted what I could see:  the ladder.

Do I trust you God when the waves are crushing me and out of my control?

I did not have my eyes on Him and I missed the ocean beauty that my friend and husband got to see.

When we operate in fear, we flounder.  There is no peace.

The Bible says when we call out to the Lord, He hears us.  He will rescue you!

2 Samuel 22:7-16 says “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God.  From His temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.  The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry.  Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.  He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.  He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his canopy around him – the dark rain clouds of the sky.  Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.  The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.  He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.” 

Glory be to God! He comes to the rescue when we cry out in our distress!  He loves to help us and He shows up in might and power.

Someday read all of 2 Samuel chapter 22.  It is awesome!

May God bless you today for He is with you.

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