I don’t know what it is about me and the ocean. It’s like we can’t get along. Last Sunday, at church, my friend and I were remembering a time a group of us from church went on vacation. Those were fond memories. One day, we were at the Atlantic Beach in North Carolina, and I decided to take a float out into the water. It seemed okay to do. I was on the float while the others were on the beach. Thank God, Helen and her husband decided to follow me on a dinghy they brought with them while I was on my float. I love the ocean, and I could easily live on the beach. That day, we never heard the news about a hurricane coming our way. The ocean had riptides, and we didn’t know it until I got caught in it. That was the second time in my life that I had to be rescued from the ocean. Both times were because of hurricanes. The riptide was taking me into the ocean. I’m a strong swimmer, but I panicked. I saw what was happening, and I saw me getting pulled in farther and farther from shore. Helen saw me and knew what was happening. She knew I was in big trouble. She jumped in the water and into the riptide to save me. At this point, I was exhausted from trying to swim against the riptide. She knew I was panicking and took control. Thank God. She yelled at me and threatened to punch me if I didn’t listen to her. We still laugh about that day. She managed to bring us back to shore. However, it was miles away from where we were, and we drifted into a pier, where sharks tended to be in. That was because fishermen fished from the top of the pier, and sharks followed the fish. When we finally came on shore, we were exhausted. We just laid on that sand thanking God we didn’t drown. We had our own alleluia and praise worship service. Then, we had to walk back to our hotel which was a few miles away. That’s how far we were carried. I still remember all the things we said about who GOD was on that walk back.
“For this reason we must pay closer attention to what we have heard.
Then we won’t drift away from the truth.”
When I read this verse, I was reminded of my riptide experience. You see, it was my fault getting caught in it. I saw the ocean looked fine, but I could only see how far my natural eyes could see. In other words, I was clueless to what was happening a few miles ahead in the ocean. There was a hurricane brewing, causing dangerous riptides. In addition, the only thing I was interested in was the music on the radio. I never bothered to hear the weather report. Hey, it was nice and sunny out; my eyes could only see the sun. It felt good, not realizing, “Looked good and felt good” would get me into big trouble, enough trouble to have lost my life! This passage becomes so clear as I compare it to my almost drowning experience for the second time in my life. We tend to drift from spiritual truth too. We must pay close attention to GOD’s warning in our lives that would bring us down. We can’t drift away if we know the truth. We wouldn’t drift away if we pay attention to the people who jump into our lives to save us. Helen was very strong in quickly saying, “Stop fighting the riptide, and let me take you in.” But when I was not listening to her, causing her and me to nearly drown, she had to say, “Teresa, I’m warning you, if you don’t cut it out, I’m going to punch you!” Thank God she said that. I preferred the punch instead of drowning! It was better to be black and blue than code blue and dead! Thank God I listened to her, and I lived to talk about it. Had I not listened, eventually she would have had to let go of me because I would have caused her to drown too. Are you hearing what I’m saying today? When you find people who truly care about you, don’t be foolish. Listen and follow the godly advice. Lastly, we drifted in an area where sharks tend to be in. Helen told me she had been there last month, in the area we drifted to, standing right at that pier, where there had been a shark attack. She was telling me she was remembering how GOD protected us, not just from drifting and drowning in the ocean but also from a possible shark attack. She told me we had been drifting to a dangerous place. Friends, take notice today. Be sure you're not drifting. If you are blessed with friends who genuinely care about you and are there to save you, forgive me for saying it this way but don’t be a stupid jerk. Listen up and allow them to bring you back to safety. Get out of the riptides and shark-infested oceans of lies and deceptions. “Pay close attention to the truth so you will not drift away!” Rev. Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder and President Thread of Hope