PSA: Drowning

There are many misconceptions about drowning.  It is so critically important to understand the differences between struggling and drowning because it takes so painfully short of a time for someone, especially a child, to drown.

Rescuing Drowning Children

  1. “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the Instinctive Drowning Response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long—but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level

  • Head tilted back with mouth open

  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus

  • Eyes closed

  • Hair over forehead or eyes

  • Not using legs—vertical

  • Hyperventilating or gasping

  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway

  • Trying to roll over on the back

  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Thirst

Are you thirsty today?

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 42:2

My oldest son is being used by God to show me something and it’s not subtle.  Everyone is born with fundamental questions within their soul that need to be answered.

Where do I come from?

Why I am I here?

Where am I going?

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Why is the world like this?

Is there a God?

What is good?

What is evil?

What is truth?

How can I be happy?

When you boil down every world religion and philosophy, they are all attempting to answer these questions.  There is a thirst for knowledge and truth within us all and the driving element in our life is our attempt to answer these questions.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

My oldest son has an intense focus on books and puzzles. Being four years old, he studies things incredibly and remembers the smallest details about these things that capture his interest.  He will spend hours in his room quietly playing with a single puzzle, memorizing every single piece to the point where I believe he could assemble it in the dark if he really wished to do so.  My son’s thirst is well-developed and he is attempting to quench it.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

For Christmas, my son received a gift to help quench this thirst and encourage it to grow within him.  He received a bible for Christmas (mind you, he is not quite four years old yet).  Most kids would put the bible aside and attack the toys still waiting under the tree or already unwrapped.  He on the other hand promptly sat down and started to read.  It has only been a few short weeks since he received this gift, but he is addicted.  If this is the addiction (and we all have one) he suffers from in his life, praise be to God.

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

John 7:37-38

My son truly clings to the Word.  He wants to know where it is always.  He wants to bring it with him to everything we do (eating dinner, playing with cars on the floor, to the gym, or to Nana’s house).  He wants the Word close to him as often as possible.

Shouldn’t we all feel that way?  When the trials of life hit us, we may turn to the Word for reassurance, but do we do it daily?  Do we cling to it?  I thought I understood what Christ meant when he said the following.

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

Matthew 19:14

Children are able to put such amazing faith into things.  They believe them fully – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Spiderman, and untold numbers of other completely fictional creations, but there is something else… children are not yet corrupted by pride or personal success, they have a thirst that seems so unquenchable that when they are exposed to the Wellspring, they fear to leave it behind as it is exactly what their souls need – knowledge, truth, strength, courage, faith, righteousness, perfection.

My son CLINGS to the Word at just shy of four years old.  Do I?

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters.

Isaiah 55:1

Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

John 4:14

spring-water

 

Swimming

Water is a terrifying thing.  The might of the oceans manifests itself in the tides, hurricanes, tsunamis, and the corroding power of salt.  Everything that man can conceive of is destroyed given enough time and water. Within water, such an essential life-giving element, is the power to destroy in any number of ways.

But water is something else too… it is essential to life.  It composes over two-thirds of our bodies and every organism on this planet requires it to survive.  More so, it teems with life itself – from fish, to algae, to millions of species of everything from lobsters and sea slugs to the largest mammals on Earth.

Last night, I went swimming.  I love swimming above most workouts because I can’t listen to music while I do it.  It is rhythmic, repetitive, and is an incredibly taxing workout regardless of intensity.  It is also a great time to think and try to listen to God.

We are awash in grace.  We are not just soaked in it, we are immersed completely in it.  It’s like we are in the middle of an Olympic-sized swimming pool and there is just a torrent of grace pouring down on us while we are swimming in it.  There is so much of it, that it is astonishing.  Christ didn’t just pour out enough for each of us on the cross, He poured out increasing grace for each of us and continues to do so every day.  We just have to recognize it.

Have you ever looked at a baptism and really thought about what it symbolizes?  Baptism has always been taught in my life as an expression of faith – that we are putting to death our old life of trying to live under The Law and rising “born again” in Christ.  I’ve always thought this metaphor was lacking.  If we look at water as a symbolic manifestation of grace, could baptism be an acknowledgment and acceptance of that grace…. even a surrender to it?

If you acknowledge Christ, you’re swimming in grace… if you don’t, then you’re drowning in sin.

You get to choose: sink or swim.

Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

Acts 22:16

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 6:14

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

John 1:16

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith.

Ephesians 2:8

 

 

Deluge

Have you ever stood out in a downpour?  Have you ever stood there and let the rain wash you as it drenches the earth?

The water falls so quickly that it is slamming to the ground. It falls so fast that it cannot be absorbed and it cannot drain away.  It swirls around your feet and pools on the ground.  It is so loud and powerful that it is nearly impossible to hear anything else.

I have a friend from college who used to love walking about after a rain shower.  He used to say that it felt like everything had been washed clean and in that moment everything was perfect again.

I don’t know if he knew it at the time or even now, but he perfectly described the grace that God showers on us if we humbly ask for it.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:14

Next time it pours down rain, go stand out in it. Feel the sting of the water against your skin and the rivulets of water running down your face and neck.  Do not shield yourself from it, but soak it in.  This is how we should treat the Lord’s grace.  It is a freely given gift.  He wants you to bathe in it to be cleansed and purified.

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