Thursday, September 18, 2008


Have you seen Walter and Christopher Marino in the news by now? This unbelievable story of a father and son drifting out to sea for some 12 hours and surviving to tell about it brings many things to mind for me: Reid's love of water; the therapeutic value of water; the false sensation of comfort that floating offers; the benefits of knowing what motivates your kids; the power of staying engaged with them through thick and thin; the absolute might of the ocean; the uncertainty of life; the redeeming value of movie scripts; the universal will to live; and of course above all, God's sovereignty.

It to me seems that our kids have swarms of guardian angels hovering around them. I know Reid has darted through some gnarly encounters unscathed. Thus far, the Lord has honored my regular prayer that Reid would have a hedge of protection around him. Since they were babies, both my kids have had a small, plaster angel cherub hanging over their bedroom door from a ribbon. On the ribbon is handwritten the "911" code verse, "For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11

Enough harrowing experiences have brought me coronary distress, that people now quizzically wonder how I appear so calm. "Practice," I say without eye contact, for I have not the luxury. My eyes are always on the make for my flitting butterfly who has not yet been stung by near misses either crossing a street or riding a bike( in the center lane up to our pool in stubborn refusal to ride single file along the curb). Lost at Target; lost in the neighborhood; lost in the local county park; lost at the Tate Museum in London, Reid is found every time but, not always in short order. My knee jerk reaction now is to pray and to enlist Allie. She or I always find him. Even when we alert the authorities, it is usually her sixth sense that reveals his mystery location. And usually there is a logical explanation which we decipher after the fact when my blood pressure returns to its normal low.

The most frightening situation to date was this summer in Cape Hatteras when Reid opened a moving car door and bolted across Hwy 12, an infamous single lane freeway, in an irrational tirade. How he did not get creamed into the concrete I will never be able to explain outside of God's grace.

Watching the Marino family interviewed brings tears to my eyes, tears of recognition and empathy for the complexity of their emotions and their daily reality. Siblings rock. Good for his sister, Angela, for knowing when to call the earthly 911. Good for the insightful anchorman for crediting her and using people-first language addressing Christopher by name.

Living near the ocean makes me acutely aware of its beauty and its danger. The ocean is so like its Creator. I love the ocean. And I fear the ocean. I am in awe of the ocean. Those are concrete realities. In a similar way, I love and "fear of the Lord." Just this past summer, I was momentarily caught in a riptide and surprised by how quickly I panicked. A week later, an avid boogie boarding friend of mine had to be rescued by a lifeguard in front of her 2 teenage daughters. In addition to being embarrassed, she was really frightened. Afterward, we commiserated over all that flashes before your eyes in a moment "at sea." I cannot begin to imagine the hours at sea that the Marino's endured.

I am also touched by the dad's flood of gratitude. Do we express equivalent joy and exuberance on Easter morning (or daily, for that matter) at the promise of being rescued from eternal death? One day we will know exactly how he felt. Jesus, not the Coast Guard, saves us all from the clutch of death.

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:8-10

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. Psalm 91:13-15

Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners. Psalm 144:6-8

From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you. Job 5:19

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Psalm 34:6-8

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