I watched two boys swimming in the pond and wondered what to do. The younger boy wasn’t as good a swimmer as his older brother, and, when he was halfway across the pond, I started to worry about him. I was relieved to see him finally stand up and walk to the edge.
A few minutes later, the two boys were standing on their surfboard-like raft. The older boy was trying to take away the oar from his younger brother. He jerked at it and sent the younger boy into the pond with a splash, his head just missing the big rocks near the edge.
Added to that, my husband had told me a few weeks earlier to be watchful because he had seen a cottonmouth snake slither into that same pond. I looked all over for an adult who might be watching over these two, but, after several minutes, I still didn’t see anyone. So, I made a choice. I called out to the boys and suggested they should get out of the pond because we had seen a snake in there.
About five minutes later, my doorbell rang. The boy’s mom was polite, but I could tell she was “not pleased” that I had interfered with the situation. She informed me she had been watching from the balcony several doors down. I responded politely and told her about the cottonmouth snake. She said she was aware there were snakes, but that those snakes were afraid of people and she didn’t think that was a problem. I told her that I was glad to know the boys were being watched, introduced myself, and made a lame excuse, saying, “Once a schoolteacher, always a schoolteacher.”
I still don’t know if I did the right thing or the wrong thing speaking to those boys, but it didn’t feel right to just stand there and watch either.
I’ve always loved Edward Mote’s hymn that says, “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand . . . all other ground is sinking sand.” The unsung truth about a solid rock is that it really isn’t possible to sit on one for very long. Solid rocks don’t make for comfy places to rest for long periods of time. After a short time, the only way to feel good is to stand up and move around a bit. I spent some time applying the wisdom of the hymn to my situation with those two boys.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
I wish I had said a quick prayer and asked Jesus if I should have spoken to those boys. I might have done the same thing, or I might have been led to just watch them for a while longer. I didn’t take time to trust the situation to Jesus, so I don’t know if I did the right thing. I didn’t lean on Jesus because I was too busy thinking I should fix it myself.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
I didn’t know the right thing to do, so I acted out of fear for those boys. How often have I made decisions from a place of unknowing darkness only to find that it would have been better to wait? Sometimes the storms of life produce fear, and fear is rarely a right motivation for action.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
I didn’t see anyone watching those kids, but it didn’t mean there was no one watching. Sometimes it seems like God isn’t there or isn’t enough, and so there is nobody else to fix it. Scripture, and the words of this hymn, would argue that point. God has promised he is always there and always enough — and that should always be our hope.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
I doubt that will be the last time I jump in to fix something that probably didn’t need to be fixed. I just hope that the next time I see something I think is a problem I will ask God what to do before I think I know what to do. I’m grateful for the grace God has offered me in Christ Jesus, and I look forward, with joy, to the day I enter eternity and no longer need it. I look forward to being “faultless” before his throne.
In closing, I will say this. I function with the philosophy that once a person knows the right thing to believe and do, they should think it and do it. Whatever consequences come with a right choice are the consequences we should accept. Christ truly is our Solid Rock. But that rock isn’t a place where Christians are supposed to rest and do nothing.
I am trying to learn my lessons along the way about how to stand. I’m just hoping the next time I “jump” is because Jesus told me what to do and how to do it. Once we know we are supposed to jump, the only questions are how far and how high.
Enjoy your week. But one word of wisdom from the teacher in me: I still think it’s best not to swim with the snakes. Think about that and you will understand the deeper thoughts behind this blog post.