The Raft

When I remember my childhood many memories come to mind. Some tug at my heart with a longing for those days of simpler times. One memory that all of my brothers and sister will remember is that of my fear of putting my face under water when I was 5 years old. I had not learned to swim yet, and the idea of submerging my body let alone my face under the water of a pool, lake or ocean was something that I planned to avoid at all cost. There are family movies that will always be there as a humorous testimony to this fact. 

 I can easily picture myself on a beach in Florida with my family when I was 5. I was happily running along the shore letting the waves wash over my feet. I remember bravely running into the ocean to the depth of my knees, and running back to the safety of the shore. We had rented a raft and my siblings were riding it on the waves. I remember my father coaxing me to ride that raft in the shallow water. This idea was very scary to me… if I fell off, I would surely go under the water! My father persuaded me to give this dangerous feat a try. He told me that I would be alright, and that he would be there right beside me the whole time. I trusted my dad and I climbed on the raft. He pulled me out to a very treacherous depth of about 2 feet. He then turned the raft to face the beach, and when the next small wave came… he let go! The raft picked up speed as my father ran right beside me.  In my panic the raft flipped over and the water splashed my face. My dad was right there to hug me…but I was mad! I felt betrayed, I had trusted him and I fell off!

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 Recently one of my siblings included this home movie clip on a DVD of old home movies. This clip shows me clinging to that raft and my father running right there beside me. I can watch myself fall, and Dad swoop me up. I was unharmed but mad, and dad was comforting…but surely amused by my response to him. It is funny to watch this memory from my past. I remember the promises of my father. He told me that I would be alright, and that he would be right there beside me. He had kept those promises! I am reminded of my Heavenly Father’s promises to me in my life. He has told me to “be strong and courageous”, “fear not” …and He says “I will never leave you or forsake you!” How many times does God repeat these promises in His Word? Time and time again He reminds us of His love, and His presence in our lives. We splash along through life and go through situations which look so deep and dark to us, yet to our heavenly Father they are not even 2 feet deep. We cling to our rafts and ride through the salty waters of this life and He is always there running right beside us.   

My dad did not prevent the fall, but he knew that I would be fine…and truly that is exactly what he had promised, ”You will be alright, I will be right here!” Sometimes it seems like the trials of our lives are like the waves of the sea. We go through calm times, but rest assured in this life there will some bigger waves… some bigger than we would ever choose to navigate. It is a comfort to know that we have a loving Father who runs beside us through them all. He never promises that we won’t fall off our raft and get a face full of water. He does promise us that we can trust Him to be there, to help us through rough times with His loving comfort and strength. The things that look so huge in our perspective must look like those 2 foot waves from His. There is nothing bigger than my Father. However if we run away in our disappointment, we will miss out on His comfort and strength, and we will not be ready for the next wave. I am so thankful for my earthly father who so faithfully modeled my Heavenly Father’s love for me!        

Written by: Guest Blogger Jeanne East

“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10