Exodus 14:27 – Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. (NIV)
My dad taught me how to swim the old-fashioned way — in the sea. He had been an engineer in the merchant navy, so he knew the value of learning how to swim in the ocean. One summer when I was about six years old, he took me into the cold waters off the west of Scotland and showed me what to do.
He cradled me in his strong arms and talked to me about using my arms and legs at the same time to swim. He reassured me that the salt would add some buoyancy to my small body. I had to trust him and believe what he said. He let me go a couple of times to get me used the waves going over my face. Within half an hour, I was swimming freely, and my dad was looking proudly at me.
Ever since then, the sea has been in my blood. When I pastored in Scotland, I lived only four miles from the sea and still loved to swim in it. Even during the month of October, when the wind was chilly and the waters were freezing, I would still venture out for a half-hour swim. Those moments in those waters always took me back to those days when my dad and I went swimming.
The Israelites also had to trust God and believe what Moses said in the midst of their troubles at the Red Sea. Granted, they didn't have to swim their way across, but they did need to have faith to get them to the other side. Without that trust in God, they could never have gained deliverance from their enemies. Without placing their lives in His hands, they could have neither overcome their fears nor escaped Pharaoh.
Life can be a struggle at times, and the waves of worry can threaten to overwhelm us. But if we put our hope in the Lord, He will help us to walk, wade, or swim through them and get to the peace, love, and happiness that we seek.
Prayer: Father God, teach us how to swim through life. Stretch out Your hand, and calm us as we face our cares and concerns. Cradle us in Your strong arms, and teach us to cope with and overcome our troubles. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.