“It’s a miracle you are alive,” the doctor said as she indicated the reports and x-rays showing water-filled lungs and low oxygen levels. Scott had proven that, “there is but a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3).
Vacationing Scott and Kim Hayes walked on the beach in Mexico. They headed to a sandbar where the Ameca River flows into the Pacific Ocean. A mother and daughter were wading back from the other side of the river with their hands full of beautiful shells. “The water is only knee-deep! We just went across and back – it’s easy!” they said. Scott decided to cross over to get some shells for Kim. Just ten feet away from the shore, Scott stepped into what felt like a hole. All the sand whisked out from under his feet. He was dragged under the surface, trapped in a vortex of fierce water where the river meets the ocean. Kim pleaded, “Someone save my husband! He’s going to drown!”
Stuart Swenson was also on vacation with family and friends. His group were on the sandbar hoping to see stingrays. Stuart had walked about waist deep into the water ahead of the rest of his group when he heard his wife yelling to tell him that his friend, Pat, needed his help at the mouth of the river. He saw Pat standing in chest deep water and another person’s head barely visible in the waves. He began running towards his friend, grabbing a child’s life jacket on the way.
Five critical minutes had passed since Scott had first gone under. He thought he was having a terrible nightmare but he would briefly ‘come to’ enough to grasp reality. Stuart dove towards the stranger and swam to him, thinking he would quickly pull him back to shore. He had been vigorously training for an Ironman triathlon. However, even with his legs kicking as hard as he could, the pair were rapidly being swept away from the shore.
Pat had crossed the mouth of the river to move down the deserted beach closer to where the two men were floating. He continued to stay in line with them as they drifted away, waving his arms to attract the attention of a fishing boat. Slowly the boat turned around.
At this point, Scott’s lungs were full of water and his oxygen levels dangerously low. When the fishing boat finally reached them, one of the men dove in to help push Scott up the ladder, as the other two men in the boat pulled him up. They began the bumpy ride to the marina where an ambulance was waiting.
Scott was in critical condition in the intensive care unit with a possibility of brain damage. Thankfully, he passed all his neurological tests and four days later, he was out of the hospital and enjoying time with his family. God had the right man in place at the right time to save Scott.
Scott had taken swimming lessons as a child and had cheated to pass the tests. While his face was in the water and his arms were doing the motions, he walked all the way across the pool. His instructors either did not realize or they didn’t mind that he couldn’t swim. However, when the real test came and he needed to swim in the ocean, his ‘faking it’ failed him.
Similarly there are people in the world who are pretending to be Christians. Maybe they are hoping that if they just have enough faith, good works, prayers, or church attendance they will manage to be accepted into Heaven for eternity. Faking Christianity is not good enough when the real test, death, comes. We have to “KNOW” we are saved. Romans 5:6 says “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”. When Scott was in the water that day, he was completely and utterly without strength. Helpless! He needed a saviour. Just as we, while in our sins, are helpless to do anything to save ourselves. We need a Saviour. Stuart was Scott’s saviour that day in the rough waters. The Lord Jesus can be your Saviour if you trust Him.
As an eighteen year old, Scott realized that with his sin he could not meet God’s standard of perfection and one day be in Heaven. He saw for himself that God had sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to take his punishment for him. Scott accepted that when the Lord Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), the payment for Scott’s sin was complete. There was no more struggling for Scott. Jesus did it all. Trust Him!