Do you trust lifeguards? Do you trust those perfectly tanned, whistle-wielding, barely-post-adolescence, red-wearing professionals with your life or the lives of your children and loved ones?
I sort of do. But I sort of don’t either.
Even though there are usually more than a few lifeguards walking about most pools, I am always on edge when my sons are carelessly flapping away in the water. Most recently, as we spent a wonderful week at the beach, we had a lifeguard practically right outside of our beach-house door. He arrived shortly after dawn and sat up high in that totally cool chair, under a huge umbrella, “on-duty” flag always flying next to him all day long. It was still not enough for me. Either my husband or I had to be there with our kids every time they were in the water. I just didn’t trust Ivan enough (that was the lifeguard’s name, even though we endearingly called him Sven behind his back : ).
He didn’t give me any reason to not trust him. He seemed always alert and commanding. He made his whistle and instructions heard every time any swimmer drifted in deeper than allowed…but …what if he blinks just when my kids need help? What if a bird flies by at the precise moment when one of my children’s heads goes under for longer than safe? What if he gets sleepy and dozes off? What if he gets distracted saving other people and he takes his eyes off my kids? What if a cute girl in a bikini walks by???
Today, as I contemplate the end of summer break and the inevitability of my sons’ back-to-school trek, I feel anxiety creeping into my heart. I want them to have a wonderful experience. I want them to have fun as well as learn valuable lessons. They are both still relatively new to the school so there are many things and classmates they will be meeting this year, and I am nervous about them being able to establish godly friendships and staying safe from the evils of the world. I want to protect them. And it is killing me that I can’t be there for them watching their every move. It kills me not to be there to counsel them and to steer them in the right direction. It kills me not to be there to offer them my comfort during hard times.
I have to admit that I don’t trust anyone to be able to take care of my sons the way I do. At school, everyone is so busy and there are so many other kids, nobody is going to pay attention to my sons. Nobody is going to care. I feel as if it is worse than sending them into the ocean to swim alone! At least they had Sven there! Then I remember we have a Heavenly Lifeguard. And this one, I most definitively need to trust. But, do I?
If I am honest, really honest…I must admit to myself that I, often, don’t completely trust Him either. That is one of my biggest struggles. I don’t trust God all the time. I don’t trust that He’s got His eye on me and on my loved ones. I don’t trust that He will take care of us. I don’t trust His unique kind of love.
I try to device ways in which I can control the outcomes of situations and manipulate circumstances so I can spare myself any discomfort. I get nervous, afraid and anxious when I see the possibility of hardship and unpredictability coming my way. I shudder when I discover that part of His plan includes certain amount of struggle and pain…I don’t trust His promise that He’ll be there, and that I can count on His protection and provision in every and any situation. I forget His promise that He’ll never slumber or sleep on the job and that His outstretched arm will always grab me as I begin to sink, and will not allow me to drown.
I forget He is the one Lifeguard I can fully trust with my life and the lives of those who are my own.
Well, I don’t have to foolishly send my sons into the ocean or the swimming pool by themselves just because I blindly trust the lifeguards that sit up on that fancy high chair. But I do need to remember that I can and should completely trust the Holy Lifeguard who Sits up on high. He is the Only One who is worthy of my entire confidence for He controls our destinies and His love is more than we can possibly even begin to imagine…His eye is on us, all the time… He will not get distracted by anything, not even a bikini-clad girl passing by… : )