Many years ago, while working at the University of Georgia, I had accompanied a group of college students for a leadership weekend retreat in the North Georgia mountains. We donned our bathing suits and found an ideal spot for swimming at a nearby river. Those who were brave ventured out on the slippery rock formations and slid over a small waterfall. The adventurous chorused together, “C’mon Angie. It’ll be fun!” So I decided to take the leap. One of the students, Jena went down with me side by side and explained that I should veer to the right and not the left while plunging into the depths below. I heard her loud and clear, only my body found it impossible to follow her advice. We sat on the rocks together and the current took her safely to the right just under the waterfall and me to the left where I plunged into deeper waters. I tried desperately to surface for air, but the water pounding from the falls pushed me further below, where an undercurrent held me well below the surface.
This was the first time in my life that I thought I might possibly die. Somehow, I was calm and thought, ‘O.K. God, either this is my time to go or it isn’t.’ Obviously, it wasn’t. I kept trying to swim to the surface but to no avail.
After what seemed to be an eternity, a hand reached down and plucked me out of the surging water. It was Jena. She was a much stronger swimmer than I was and came to my rescue. ‘Are you ok?’ she asked. Coughing up water, I said, “No” and she dragged me to the river’s edge. I don’t know how long I’d been under, but I knew I could not escape alone.
Every single one of us has an undercurrent that runs through our home. If you live alone, it’s an undercurrent of your own making. If you live with someone, then it’s a collaborative effort. Perhaps it’s a happy current that buoys us up to the surface of life and makes us ready to face another day. Or maybe it’s one of tension and stress, stemming from financial struggles or relationship issues. Whatever its nature, we are all impacted by the strength of an undercurrent. Some are stronger than others and some can take you down and keep you there until help arrives.
Caregivers of loved ones with fatal illnesses or incurable diseases deal with the frighteningly dangerous undercurrent of death. Some days you’re aware of it. Some days you’re not. Sometimes it feels like you’re playing tug-of-war with your loved one in the middle and death pulling on the other side. Your love for them is strong, but all you feel is weak.
Death is more powerful than you are. You can try to cheat it, delay it or defy it. But in the end, it happens to all of us. We hope to live a rich and full life before we meet death face to face. As caregivers, we make the best medical decisions we can for our loved ones, hoping to prolong their life. But in the end, we still don’t know the day any of us will leave this earth.
When a powerful and debilitating undercurrent flows through our lives, our tendency is to fight against it. But there comes a time when we must realize that the undercurrent is stronger than we are. We can no longer go it alone. We need help and the sooner we accept our limitations and our need for help, the better our chances for survival.
When I was trapped under that waterfall, it did not matter how hard I swam. The current was still too strong for me. I had to be rescued. Someone had to reach down to me in my situation and pull me out. And I had to be willing to receive. If Jena had reached out to me but I had refused her offer of help, more than likely I would not have survived.
The same is true in our lives. Sometimes the current is just too strong for you and someone must reach out to you in your situation and rescue you. You can try to fight against the current, but all that does is drain your energy and your oxygen. And if you refuse the help that’s been sent to you, the outcome could be grim.
So what do you do?
Ask, Seek & Knock.
Ask God for help. Forget eloquent prayers; just say, Help!
Seek Him. Look for the hand reaching down to help you.
Knock. And keep knocking until the door opens.
This is how God wants us to come to Him. He even backs it up with a promise: “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:8
Whatever your situation, there is One stronger and more powerful than the undercurrent that holds you in its grip. And this One loves you perfectly. So, go ahead and ask. Ask, seek and knock.