2 Timothy 2:13: The Ultimate Life Jacket by Paula Anderson

This birthday was a special, momentous occasion.  Usually, my activity choice included the whole family, something they would enjoy as I enjoyed them.  Past birthdays have included deep-sea fishing, baseball games, or test driving sporty cars. However, this year I gave myself permission to ask for what I wanted even if some family members could not participate. So, it was white water rafting with my youngest son.  My goal was adventure, but I came home with a bigger prize — humility and love.

Jacob’s senior project was “white water kayaking,” so he was quite comfortable with the prospect, even though we were doing the challenge trip with class IV and V rapids. During the initial part of our trip, my son reached over to tighten the straps of my life jacket as our guide informed us how important that was for our safety. He was right. Though my life jacket was tight enough to make breathing difficult,  it was so much easier for a person to hoist me out of the water onto the raft after I was dumped out.

We never surfed the rapids like everyone else. We were launched out of our raft as soon as we entered the Class IV/V rapids. The first time, we floated on top of the river with six consecutive waves crashing into us. I tried to find refuge on the side, only to have rocks graze my backside. I gratefully welcomed a boat which appeared out of nowhere and hauled us inside. Again, on our run down the class V rapids we were catapulted as the right side of our boat rose at a ninety degree angle, despite my son’s admonition to our river guide that it was his job to keep his momma in the boat; after all, it was her birthday.  This time we were sucked under, and just as the current lightened to a pea green color, we were suctioned down again.

My life jacket prevented panic. I knew I would come back up. Plus, my past experience with childhood asthma taught me to relax when I couldn’t breathe, even when I started to become apoxic. I relaxed… and waited. My best efforts had landed me in rough water, but God had equipped me to get through, by providing me with a tight-fitting life jacket and previous experience that taught me to be calm and wait instead of responding with hysteria. Finally, I had a silver lining to having asthma!

Jacob, although not fearing for his own safety, feared for mine. He said he has never prayed harder in three hours in his whole life. He also stated emphatically, that he was taking me home, putting me in front of the television and surrounding me with pillows. He hugged me easily a dozen times, three times coming down the stairs after he had turned in for the night. I was so blessed by Jacob’s declaration of love for me, yet very aware that God loves me more.

God has me covered. Regardless of how many times in life I have been launched from the boat into rough waters, He has seen me through. He has not allowed the seemingly overwhelming circumstances to engulf me, but has consistently brought me through safely.

We lost our child, and God provided another. My husband Jim was diagnosed with sarcoid, and we endured the uncertainty of how it would manifest in his body. Yet, when Jim had a stroke while driving, God provided for his safety.  I found him immovable on the side of the road with the car in “Drive,” his foot off the brake, and steep descents on three sides of the car. My husband lost his job and didn’t have a steady income for a year. Yet, God provided dog-walking jobs and stretched our savings.

In every circumstance, God was faithful. He was fully God. He pulled down the straps and made us aware of His presence even though it was difficult to breathe. I do not know if I am going down the White Water Challenge anytime soon.   According to Jacob: “Absolutely not, and not parachuting out of a plane either.” But I am grateful that when life crashes me, though I will eventually succumb, I will have my life jacket on, pulled tight.  I am covered. He is faithful….

2 Timothy 2:13: If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself.  



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