Susie is a grateful mom of two young adult sons. She and her husband live in a seaside town in the Puget Sound region called Mukilteo. They love to hike and kayak, they are huge Seattle sports fans, and they mostly love hanging out at home with their little dog Koko.
Susie teaches P.E., Art, Technology, and Music at an all-kindergarten school which keeps her busy full time. Her passion and joy is sharing encouraging words with the people she loves. She is an active blogger and speaker, and she is the author of Just One Word: 90 Devotions to Invite Jesus In. She is always on the lookout for fun coffee shops, inspiring books, remote beaches, and farmers’ markets.
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out; your hearts were stuck in your throats… Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time. –Psalm 107:26-28 MSG
I gasped as my eyes found my husband. The look on his face sent a lightning bolt of fear from my head to my toes. The waves were getting bigger and rougher; and as we both struggled to stay afloat, he was drifting farther and farther away from me and out to sea.
“I’m not going to make it,” he said. His voice was weak and resigned, and I knew he meant it. My best friend, the love of my life, the father of my boys was drowning, and I could not save him.
In a frozen moment of terror, a million thoughts raced through my mind:
I should try to get to him and hold him up, but I don’t have the strength. We will both go under.
I should try to swim to shore and call 911, but he won’t be able to last that long.
I cannot watch him drown. If he dies, I don’t want to live.
What about our kids? Is this how our life is going to end? I don’t want to die yet.
How had we gotten into such a desperate situation?
I was sure it was my fault. I wanted to swim one last time before we flew home. Up until that day, I had been having so much fun bodysurfing in the waves while Bob would contentedly watch me from his shady spot under the palm tree. Even though it was a bit overcast and less inviting, this afternoon was our last opportunity to play in the warm and wonderful Hawaiian water. Always a good sport, he agreed to go with me.
Something was different — I could tell right away. After a couple of waves had crashed over our heads, my feet couldn’t touch the sand. We were moving rapidly away from the beach and we couldn’t get back. I turned to tell Bob I was getting scared, and that’s when I realized how far out he was and how exhausted he had become.
Panic took over. My body went completely weak, and my mind went blank for a moment. I had no idea what to do. I had only seconds to make the worst decision of my life, and both choices led to tragedy.
All of a sudden, a burst of strength came from somewhere deep inside of me. With an energy and volume that I didn’t know I had, I yelled, “HELP! HELP! HELP!” toward the shore. There were no lifeguards at this spot, and I couldn’t see the beach; but I was daring to hope that some of the people we had seen earlier were still there. Maybe someone would call 911?
That’s when God sent “Angel Jeff.”
He got to us in what seemed like an instant, put Bob on his back, and swam us at an angle out of the rip current and back to shore. He saved us both at once.
“Angel Jeff” – a resident of Kauai, a snorkeler with years of experience swimming in strong currents, a selfless guy who wasn’t afraid to jump in and help. At first, I wondered why he had chosen that particular beach to set up his chair and read his book that afternoon. But now I believe with all my heart that it was not a coincidence. God knew that Bob and I were going to get caught in that dangerous rip current at that exact time. And he knew that we would desperately need someone to rescue us from that very spot. This loving God of ours put his “Angel Jeff” in the right place at the right time to answer my desperate screams for help.
Psalm 107:28: Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time.
Psalm 107 reminds us:
He hears us and helps us when we are struggling–not sure what the next step is.
He hears us and helps us when we are alone, in trouble, and bound by things that hurt us.
He hears us and helps us when we are miserable–sick, in pain, depressed.
He hears us and helps us when we are knocked off our feet and deeply afraid.
Sometimes, HELP is the only word we can say. And sometimes, it is the only word we have to say.
Psalm 107:31-32: So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.