Recently I came across some photographs of my daughter’s family that were taken several summers ago. Looking at the photos brought back lots of happy memories; so much so, that I actually caught myself laughing out loud a few times. Then I came across one that caused me to pause. It was a photograph of my granddaughter Rachel Joy and her daddy.
In the photo fifteen month old Rachel Joy is looking out at the ocean as if she wants to walk further out in the water…but she’s not sure about it. Fascinated by the appearance of the ocean’s breaking waves, she’s oblivious of her daddy’s presence even though he’s standing directly behind her. As a good daddy, he’s concerned for his daughter’s safety so he’s watching her every little move. And as the photograph shows…he’s standing poised, ready to protect her by scooping her up in his strong arms should his toddler daughter wobble and fall or venture out too far in the water.
Seeing the beach photograph of Rachel Joy and her daddy reminded me of a childhood incident with my daddy. Here is this week’s story…
I was about twelve years of age and my family was vacationing for a week at White Lake. One morning my daddy, three brothers and I went out to the lake to play while mother stayed behind to wash up the breakfast dishes. Other than my mother, I was the only non-swimmer in my family. Terrified of drowning, I’d usually play in knee-deep water while wishing in my heart that I could ‘horse-play’ with my daddy and brothers in the deeper water.
On this particular morning daddy decided he’d teach me how to float. As I think back now on this incident, I truly believe my daddy’s intentions were to teach me to swim that day. But he knew that he first had to get me over my fear of drowning…and he probably thought that teaching me how to float would be a good first step toward teaching me to swim.
So in waist-deep water with my daddy standing by my side and his arms supporting me underneath…I nervously stretched my body out on top of the water. Calmly and soothingly, Daddy said: “Relax Debra, just relax.” Feeling wonderfully protected with my daddy’s arms underneath me, I completely relaxed my body and floated. I felt so peaceful. Then SUDDENLY one of my brothers shouted out to daddy: “Catch!” Daddy looked up, saw a rubber ball coming straight toward him, and instinctively reached up with both hands to catch the ball. Needless to say, my peaceful moment with daddy was shattered as down, down, down, I went beneath the water. Panic immediately set in as I thrashed about in the lake, trying with all my might to get up and out. After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only a few seconds…my daddy reached down in the water and pulled me up.
Let me tell you, I was infuriated with my daddy! And after I finished gasping for air and sputtering lake water you can best believe I made my feelings known to him. “Daddy, you know I can’t swim and yet you dropped me in the lake to catch a rubber ball! A stupid rubber ball! I can’t believe my daddy dropped me in the lake to catch a rubber ball. Daddy, how could you do that to me?”
Daddy tried his best to calm me, but I was inconsolable. Yes I was angry, but even more than that…I was disappointed. Disappointed because I felt that my daddy had let me down…that he had failed me. In my twelve year old mind, I felt as though I’d never be able to trust my daddy again. But thankfully I did.
With the passing of time I came to realize that daddy would have given his life to protect me that day. While it is true that my daddy dropped me in the lake to catch a rubber ball…more importantly, it is also true that my daddy is the one who pulled me out of the lake. My daddy loved me. He loved me greatly. Truly he was a good daddy.
I don’t know about you but there have been times in my life when I’ve wondered if I could trust God. Especially during those times when it ‘seemed’ like He’d dropped me or let me down. And you know what? Time and time again…God has proven that He’s trustworthy. And now whenever it seems as though I’m on the verge of drowning beneath an ocean of problems…I reach up in faith for God’s righteous right hand.
In closing…be encouraged with the knowledge that Father God loves you. He loves you greatly. And because God cares for you, He’s watching your every move. So if you ever feel as though you’re ‘drowning’…reach up to God in faith. God will help you. With His righteous right hand God will uphold and strengthen you. Truly God is a good Daddy.
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’—Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)
“For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’—Isaiah 41:13 (NASB)
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.—Isaiah 43:2 (NASB)
Debra Wallace is an inspirational columnist and speaker. Itinerary: Sunday, June 9, 6:00 PM, Women’s Ministry, Clinton Pentecostal Holiness Church. You may contact Debra or sign-up for her newsletter, “Good News for Overeaters!” online at www.debrawallace.com