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He Put My Feet Upon a Rock

Added by Holger Bergner on December 19, 2012. · No Comments · Share this Post

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Image credit: Tom Gill lapstrake via Photopin cc

Wait, I haven’t called on God! The thought flooded my mind like a flash of bright light. I started yelling at the top of my lungs, “God, save us! God, Jesus, save us … help … save us!” Then I felt it come under me. I didn’t know what it was, but it felt smooth and solid under my feet!

By Carlos Mendoza:

Cancun is one of the most picturesque tropical locations in the world, and on this sunny weekend we were thoroughly enjoying its warm beautiful turquoise waters. I and a few others had picked Playa Ballena for our excursion, a fairly isolated beach along its well-known hotel strip.

I was not aware of the strong undertow at this beach—or that this day unexpected circumstances would put me in a life-and-death situation.

After a taco and Corona lunch, I strolled along the beach. The white sand was inviting—it felt good under my bare feet. Blue-green waves curved and splashed along the shore, the smell of the sea, sharp and tart, and sea gulls floating lazily overhead—my senses were pleasantly mesmerized by this exotic Mexican paradise.

As I walked I kept a cautious eye on the two preteen girls from our group who were swimming about with their fins. I looked around and saw our main group, about 60 feet away—they were waving at me, calling me over. I started in their direction but stopped when I heard a loud scream behind me…

The girls were yelling and playing games—everything looked okay—but I was concerned as they seemed to be going out to deeper water. I decided to jump in the surf and waded toward them. Minutes later I noticed one of the fins floating away from the youngest of the sisters—the twelve-year-old. As I watched the fin drifting, I realized there was a current pulling it out.

I hope she doesn’t decide to go after that fin. It’s too far out … she won’t make it back!

Oh my God, she’s going for it!

I was about 30 yards away when I started swimming toward her. I watched her progress as she tried catching up to the fin. Finally she caught it and started swimming back, awkwardly, holding the fin in one hand and paddling with the other. Within moments I saw her struggling, and I swam as fast as I could to reach her.

Her arms were swinging wildly when I reached her. She latched on to me with a viselike grip. I tried to break her hold so I could move my arms—in the process we both went under for a few seconds, but I finally managed to take her under my left arm and stroked hard with my other arm. I had never swum so desperately in my life; I had to get her back to shore! After about ten minutes I looked up—no progress yet! I shifted my grip on the young girl and swam hard for another fifteen minutes. I was exhausted—my right arm felt like it was going to fall off.

I thought for sure we were now closer to the beach, but my heart sank as I looked up—we were farther than before.

Okay, I can do this. I can do this!

I commenced a steady one-arm stroke rhythm, and still holding on to the girl, aimed my body toward the coast. But for all my desperate swimming, we moved farther out to sea, pulled by the invisible undertow.

We were at the point of no return!

Oh my God, this is it … I don’t have any more strength … this is it—we’re going to die!

I began to see flashes of my life … my wife and kids … a picnic in the park. I saw friends and places, good times we’d had…

Is it all going to end here in the Yucatan ocean?

Wait, I haven’t called on God! The thought flooded my mind like a flash of bright light.

I started yelling at the top of my lungs, “God, save us! God, Jesus, save us … help … save us!”

Then I felt it come under me. I didn’t know what it was, but it felt smooth and solid under my feet! I stood on the tips of my toes to keep our heads above the waves. I couldn’t move forward or backward; I only had enough strength to stand on that solid object and paddle my free arm to keep from sliding off.

It seemed like an eternity before the lifeguards came to rescue us with their rubber raft. I grabbed a rope on the side of the raft while the two men pulled the girl out of the water. They had to struggle more to pull me in—I couldn’t move my arms to help, so it was like lifting dead weight.

On the way back to the shore, one of the lifeguards asked how I’d managed to stay out in deep water so long with the girl. I told him I was standing on something—something solid. He looked at me in disbelief. “We’ve been doing lifeguard work here for years … there’s nothing out there that’s solid … nothing that you could stand on.”

I managed to sit up in the raft and looked at the lifeguards for a moment, and then at the sea and said, “Well, there was something out there today! When I called out to God for help, something happened. A solid thing came up under my feet and saved me and the girl from drowning.”

Now, a few years later as I think back on that incident, I still see the ocean, and me standing on that miracle object that saved my life and that of the young girl that day. No one seemed to know what it was or where it came from—but I know who it was.

In the boat with the lifeguards, after the near-death experience, I remembered a verse from the Bible:

Fear not. I am your God. I will help you, I will uphold you with My right hand.1

Editor: Rip currents (or rip tides) are powerful currents that flow away from the beach. They can occur wherever there are breaking waves. If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t try to swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of it. If you can’t do that, tread water until it dissipates.2 Here is a visual FAQ about how to cope if caught in a rip.

1 Isaiah 41:10.
2 Source: The National Weather Service.

Photo credit: Tom Gill (lapstrake) via Photopin cc

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