Almost everybody loves to think about being on the beach. Whether they live near an ocean or not, there is some lake or “natural swimming hole” that is ever on the minds of those wishing they could just “get away from it all” for a little while. There is within us the pull of the outdoors that is profound. The warmth of the sun, the gentle breezes that are more evident outside, the sound of waves of water or water lapping the side of a dock or boat… not sure what it is exactly, but those qualities have an alluring hold on our hearts that cause us to yearn to be there.
My younger years, I loved to be in the water and not just enjoying the beach or the bank. Because I never lived near the ocean, a trip there was a highlight. Most often, as a young man, I would be invited to go with friends to their lake house and ski, jet ski, float on “inner tubes” (those are the things that used to be found in tires to keep the air in the tire). On the infrequent occasions that I got to go to the ocean, it was a treat.
The church I pastor has always been gracious to provide for my family and on special occasions, they would give us extra special opportunities to get away. On one of the recognitions of serving as pastor here for many years, the church gave us a Caribbean Cruise. At that time, I had never done that and what a treat that is!
Once on the ship, I enjoyed all the benefits that a sea-faring landlubber is provided. As I read the brochure about adventures that one could have at the various ports where we were to dock, I saw that in Mexico, we could go scuba diving. I had never done that either and thought what an adventure that would be!
The day arrived and we were at the site to rent our equipment, air tanks, and get a quick instruction on what to do for our brief underwater exploration. I listened intently and was prepared with all my gear to take the plunge.
We left the shallow water and went “below” sea level gradually going deeper into the ocean blue. I found the experience to be exhilarating. It was everything I had thought it would be. We were in the depths now (maybe 15 feet!!!). Then, two things happened that were thrilling to my sight. Just ahead of us was a small rock formation that had the appearance of a cave. Just as I approached the opening, a sand-shark (maybe 5 feet long) swam by the opening and by us. I was so amazed, I found myself like Gomer Pyle and opened my mouth to say “Goll-eeee”. Not wise judgment to open one’s mouth under water even when prone to excitement!
I did what I had been told to do in the instruction we received, and tried to get the water out of my mouth and air coming back in. It did not work. Instinct kicked in and I headed for the surface. Once my head popped up out of the ocean, I pulled out the regulator and gasped for air. The splendor of the undersea sites was quickly not the priority when I needed air desperately..
That moment has often reminded me of why we are not seeing a massive awakening. We have become fascinated by the sites and sounds of this world. We have not walked in the power of the Spirit of God in a very long time. As a result, we are “taking in” lots of the world’s wickedness which causes complacency. The result is that we are drowning because of the deluge of godlessness. What we need desperately is the Breath of God to flush out our sinfulness and fill us anew with the Breath of Heaven! I pray we will bolt toward the LORD today and breathe the heavenly air of life abundant and direct all in our group to the live-giving “air” of the Almighty!