I started crying when my mom told me about the human chain Florida beachgoers made to “rescue [a] family swept away by [the] riptide.”
Six members of a single family — four adults and two young boys — and four other swimmers had been swept away by a powerful and deceptive riptide churning below the water’s surface.
“These people are not drowning today,” Jessica Simmons thought, she told the Panama City News Herald. “It’s not happening. We’re going to get them out.”
She was a strong swimmer and fearless in the face of adversity. But others had tried to reach them and each previous rescue attempt had only stranded more people.
There was no lifeguard on duty, and law enforcement on the scene had opted to wait for a rescue boat. People on the beach had no rescue equipment, only boogie boards, surf boards and their arms and legs.
“Form a human chain!” they started shouting.
On shore, the human chain began forming, first with just five volunteers, then 15, then dozens more as the rescue mission grew more desperate.
Nearly an hour after they first started struggling, just as the sun prepared to set, all 10 of the stranded swimmers were safely back on shore.
The entire beach began to applaud.
Is that not the coolest story!?!? Hearing that made me think of two things:
1. The woman’s determination is a good example of what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
“These people are not drowning today. It’s not happening. We’re going to get them out.”
She could have easily kept walking and stayed ashore, a safe distance away. She didn’t have to jump in and get wet.
The woman didn’t dip her toes in the water and think, “It’s too dangerous.” Nor did she wait around for someone else to handle it.
She was going to find a way to reach those people and I absolutely love that. Instead of watching (or letting) them drown, she decided she was going to do something about it.
There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
I don’t know whose idea it was to form the human chain, but the woman’s determination matched with the human chain kept 10 people from drowning.
When others face tough times, the easy thing to do is run away and let them fend for themselves, or let someone else handle it. Staying is hard, fighting is hard…but that’s what we’re called to do!
We are called to help each other.
Unfortunately, one of two things usually happen:
- We give up when the going gets tough.
- We don’t even bother and let someone else handle it.
What if we, as disciples, approached opportunities like that? I mean, really!?
I’m currently thinking about that one person who is hard to love. We all have one (or some!) in our life. As disciples, we know we’re called to love that person. We know we’re called to dig our heels in and get a little dirty…because that’s what love is.
It’s dirty and messy!
What if…instead of giving up easily or letting someone else handle it, we just figured out a way to get to them!?
That’s obviously easier said than done…but what if??? WHAT IF we approached those who are hard to love or those who are lost and thought to ourselves, “This person is not drowning today (figuratively speaking). It’s not happening. We’re going to get them out.”
What is stopping us from jumping in and getting wet for the sake of another’s soul!?
We’ll never reach the lost if we keep telling ourselves, “It’s too dangerous!” and stay a safe distance away. We have to be determined.
Our determination matched with the resources around us (along with prayer and God’s hand, of course!) may keep 10 people from drowning (figuratively speaking).
2. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Originally, there were two kids caught in the riptide. When others swam out to rescue them, they became stuck as well. It wasn’t until the human chain was formed that all 10 individuals were able to make it back safely to shore.
The power of a group is far bigger and better than the power of an individual or even just a few people! Sometimes, we need each other to get the job done.
Yes, there are some goals we can accomplish on our own. There are most certainly instances when God works through a single person to reach others!
However, a LOT happens when we link arms and do life, together…and, ultimately, we need each other! We were MADE for community (this is something I’ve had to remind myself of here lately).
When we work together to reach others as the body of Christ, we reach EVEN MORE people. We’re able to take things EVEN FURTHER and do incredible work for the Kingdom!
As disciples, our mission here on earth is to glorify God and make disciples of Jesus Christ! We need ALL pieces of the body at work every day. Not just the arms or the legs, not just the eyes and ears.
It takes ALL of us to form the body of Christ, but sometimes we forget we’re on the same team working towards the same goal.
God needs us to come together as one “human chain” in our families and in our schools and in our workplaces! This is how we further the Kingdom of God!
Teamwork makes the dream work!