By Allen White
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28:1-10
On a warmer than average January day, I gathered our younger two, Timothy and Julia, and we headed out to Cedar Falls Park. Grateful for a beautiful day and thankful we weren’t hunkered down against our annual snow with our milk and bread, we went to explore this little known park in Upstate South Carolina.
Cedar Falls Park is the site of milling ruins and a waterfall on the Reedy River, which made milling possible back in the day. The Reedy is not a powerful river like the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers, but there was certainly enough current to turn a water wheel.
Everything was perfect. The sun was shining. A gentle warm, but not hot, breeze was blowing. The sunlight danced across the 200 foot wide water fall. I knew this was a day worthy of writing about. But, at the time I didn’t know why.
As the children played at water’s edge, I relaxed with one eye on the falls and another on my kids. The overprotective father in me wanted to warn them to stay clear, but I decided just to chill out and let them enjoy the day.
Timothy slipped and got a little wet. He removed his clothes to reveal his pajamas underneath. He had followed the instruction to get dressed, but apparently needed guidance in getting undressed first. It was okay. Nobody was around. He was back to play in no time.
Timothy and Julia hopped from rock to rock, then back to the shore. Their laughter filled the air and my heart as well.
Before I knew it, Timothy had slipped again. He had decided to stick a toe in, but got more than he bargained for. I jumped up to help him. I knew he would be unhappy with being more wet than he wanted to be. As I raced over to help him, the current swept him away.
My role immediately switched from helper to rescuer. I’m not a great swimmer. I was scared. He was scared. But, I reassured him, “Daddy’s here, Tim. I’m going to get you.” It didn’t matter what it took, I was going to get that boy out of this river.
Timothy dog paddled the best he could. He kept his little red head above the water. Finally, I reached him. He clung on for dear life. Now, the next problem – we had drifted far enough downstream, we were out of shoreline and faced only boulders.
Grabbing Timothy, we struggled against the current to move around the boulders and back to shore. Submerged rocks gashed our legs. We safely reached shore, where Julia waited safely, though a little freaked out.
We sat down together on the rock and thanked God for rescuing Timothy, helping Daddy, and protecting Julia. Then, we headed to the car, drenched from head to toe.
Fortunately, the only casualty that day was my cell phone. My children later lamented my other loss – the high scores on all of the games on my phone. Time well wasted, I suppose.
Driving home, wet and bleeding, I was grateful God had watched over us – grateful He helped me rescue my son. I thank God for sparing my son’s life. I can’t imagine how God the Father felt to have lost His Son.
Every one of us is adrift. Every one of us needs a Father who will do anything to rescue us. Every one of us needs to know a God who will never give up on a single one – until we’re safely home.
God will do whatever it takes to save lost people. As long as there is breathe in our bodies, God will pursue us.
Some of us have found those strong arms to cling to. Some of us knew those arms once, but have decided to struggle on our own without God. We go to church. We play the part. But, we resist God and drift with the current.
God has so much more for you. When you ask for His help, He will help. When you question why He’s let you down or forsaken you, He’s right there, reaching out His arms, doing whatever it takes to bring you back.
If you’re tired from the struggle, it’s time to collapse into your Father’s arms.
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