Last week I had the privilege of being a lifeguard at the District Children’s Camp. The camp was not that large, only 46 children plus workers, but it was a great week. My task as the lifeguard was to keep all campers safe around the water while at the same time allowing them to have fun. Our swimming pool was a roped off section in the lake, complete with a dock and water slide.
To make sure the campers were safe in the water they had to pass a swim test and earn the coveted orange wristband. This allowed them to swim in the deep section of our “pool.” The older campers did well with this, but it was almost impossible for the small six and seven year olds to pass. They all wanted to slide down the waterslide, but it was in the deep end.
One day a cabin of six-year-old girls came to me, wanting desperately to go down the slide, though none of them could pass the swim test. Fortunately, we had a good supply of life jackets, so we struck a bargain. If they wore a life jacket, they could use the water slide. They were all excited until they climbed up the ladder of the slide and looked down to the water. Now they were afraid to go down. So I jumped into the water and promised to help them as they entered the water, making sure they got safely back to the ladder. Seven girls had the time of their life that day as they slid down the slide, splashing into the lake and floating safely in the deep end. When they got water in their faces, I was right there to assure them that they were okay. All fear was gone and smiles stretched from ear to ear.
In John 14:16 Jesus speaks about the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is called the paraclete, which means “the one who comes along side you.” Just as I was in the water with the girls to keep them safe, so the Holy Spirit enters our world and protects us. When we are frightened, He calms us and assures us it will be okay. When we get tired, He carries us. When we need encouragement, He is there to cheer us on. Jesus’ promise to “never leave you or forsake you” is fulfilled through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
So enjoy the water … you are safe!
– Pastor Gary