The Man In The Water: Dying – So I Could Live (1966)

This is the month of “Memorial Day” in America. On Memorial Day we traditionally remember those who gave their lives so we could live. The story below is a true story of incredible courage, bravery, and ultimate selflessness and sacrifice. Like my last post, it is another story about a “man in the water.”

At one time in my life, I was drowning, as were countless other desperate souls. There was a man who was doing all he could to rescue us. He continually left the safety of his position and took a flotation rescue ring and rope – a life preserver – to drowning men, women, children – people of all ages and races.

At one point, he saw me sinking and took pity on me. He dove into the water with the ring and rope without regard for his own safety (he seemed to abandon every thought of his personal well-being). In his facial expression there was a laser like focus and determination to reach me before I went under for the last time. When he reached me, he offered me the life preserver (the rope extended up and far beyond my view to its source – a source too far away for me to see). I will never forget the feeling that I would not die but live! The indescribable panic and paralyzing fear of death was leaving as I experienced incredible hope!

As I took the ring he offered, I was pulled up and out of that treacherous water. I still can see the look in his eyes – a quiet, strong, without-words-kind-of-look of deep compassion and care. While being pulled from the water, I looked back and saw “the man in the water” – the man who had rescued me, and so many others. All of this effort had created in his body an agonizing fatigue that he fought to overcome. In giving every ounce of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy, he too began to sink in the dark waters. Tragically, there was no one to rescue him! In saving me and so many others, he lost his life. No, he really didn’t lose it. He voluntarily gave it. Sacrificed it. For me, and for all the rest who would take the rescue ring and rope he extended to them.

The twin realizations that I was safe – but that he was dying the horrible death of drowning – was overwhelming. I was filled with both unspeakable joy and inconsolable grief.

I will never forget that day. It was May 28, 1966. I was just a 10 year old boy.

I will never forget that man. His name? Jesus Christ.

This truly is my story. Yes, I have told it as an “allegory” – figurative language. But it accurately depicts what this amazing man, Jesus, did for me. You see, like everyone else, I was sinking, going under, “drowning” in my sins. There was no hope. Like every other man, woman, or child, I could not save myself. My “lungs” were filling up with the treacherous and dark “water” of my sins – pulling me down to a horrible and eternal death.

God loved me – and the whole world – so much that He sent Jesus to offer us the “ring and rope” of salvation – a salvation we cannot earn or merit. Jesus gave his life for each of us so we could live in heaven forever; so each of us could be rescued if we would only put our trust in him and the incredible sacrifice he made for us.

I will forever love Jesus for giving himself up for me. Now I also try to live for him. I try to follow him.

This is my story about “the man in the water” – dying. . .so I could live.

Postscript: I absolutely cherish any and every opportunity to tell others about him and what he did for me – for all of us.

If you want to talk, please email me at InTheHarvest@gmail.com.

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