By: Dwain Neilson Esmond« Back to Devotions Page
Longtime radio commentator Paul Harvey tells this true story, which has been told many times. Perhaps you’ve heard it. If not, here it goes.
One warm summer morning a man by the name of Ray Blankenship was getting his breakfast when he looked out the window. To his horror, he saw a little girl struggling in the rain-flooded drainage ditch beside his home. Downstream the ditch rushed underneath a road, then emptied into the main culvert.
Ray ran out the door and raced along the ditch, trying to catch up to, and then get ahead of, the little girl. At last he hurled himself into the deep, roaring water. He was able to get a hold of the child’s arm, and they tumbled end over end as Ray frantically reached out to anchor himself on––anything. They were only about three feet from the culvert––and disaster––when Ray’s free hand felt something sticking out from one bank. In a heartbeat he grabbed hold of it, desperately hanging on as the rushing water tore at them both. If I can just hang on until help comes, he thought desperately. But he did better than that. By the time the fire department rescue squad arrived, he’d heaved the little girl out on the bank. Both of them were treated for shock.
For his daring rescue, Ray Blankenship was awarded the Coast Guard’s Silver Lifesaving Medal. The award is fitting, for Ray was at even greater risk to himself than most people knew. Ray Blankenship could not swim.*
I must confess that I’m not a big fan of water. It works well for bathing, drinking, watering plants, etc., but rafting in the stuff doesn’t really appeal to me. I have a recurring nightmare in which I am the little person being washed out to sea, with no Ray Blankenship to rescue me. (I’ve got issues.) I think my fear has kept me alive when I’ve been tempted to brave the rapids.
Sometimes life feels a lot like a rain-swollen ditch, running fast and washing away anything it its path. That’s a feeling I struggle with most days, and it’s a feeling King David experienced many times. But he also knew what it felt like to be pulled to safety in the nick of time. Here’s what he wrote after God had delivered Him from the hand of Saul. “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me” (Psalm 18: 16-17).
1. How has God "reached down from on high" to pull you out of a situation lately?
2. Is there something that you are fighting alone, that you need to ask God to help you with?