August 8, 2011
It is so hard to even say the words "near death experience". I cringe even thinking about what the results could have been. It still seems so impossible. Things like that could never happen to our special Payne family. I don't even want to enumerate the painful consequences of loss, heartache, grief, anger, disbelief, and despair we would have faced if things were different.
Our youngest son, Brantley, called it "What Kind of Idiot Dies in Paradise?" That was the name of his recent blog on facebook. He told the near fatal account of being caught in a riptide on the beautiful island of Kauai.
Our 14 member family was on a wonderful vacation having lots of fun together. Brantley went out for a quick swim without knowing the riptide was just offshore. That was the problem, an undertoe that kept him from swimming free.
He told about all that flashed through his mind, his attempt to powerswim out of the current, the whitecaps slapping him in the face, the salt water in his mouth stealing his breath away, and then finally the panic in the pit of his stomach.
He said he pictured his family, his beautiful wife, his precious three year old son, and baby daughter. Then he saw the safety buoy hanging on a post a few yards on shore and wished he could reach it, but of course that was not possible. He thought of the rest of his family members in the beach house, and in the hot tub only 100 yards away and wished he was there too.
He also saw a couple on a blanket just getting ready to leave. They were his last chance and they were his only chance so he whistled to the man. It was a whistle that I had taught him when he was just a boy. He learned it well and desperately needed to use it in his crisis. He used up his last precious breath to whistle as loud as he could for help.
To summarize the story, the man heard his whistle and came swimming out to rescue him. This man was a spear fisherman and had been at this spot many times before. He knew the waters were bad and the current was strong. Out of experience he yelled, "stop fighting the current, stop fighting it". So our son took a deep breath, rested on his back and began to sing an old church hymn.
As if a miracle happened he immediately drifted to a coral reef and stood up safely away from the treacherous currents. One minute he was about to drown, and moments later he landed safely on a shallow reef.
There is so much more to the story, but tragedy was quickly averted and Brantley walked away from there without a scratch. We can only say in utter amazement "Thank you dear Lord for sparing our son!"
Everybody has a wake up call or a reality check that God uses to shock us and get our attention to come home, change directions, stop the madness or the rebellion, or whatever needs correcting.
Our entire family, all of us, learned two things from our son's ultimate experience. "Whistle for help" and "Stop fighting". That means call on God our helper in time of need and stop fighting life's problems. It means surrendering to God 100% and He will deliver you from the treacherous currents of life.
Perhaps you are reading this and God is trying to capture your attention. If God is giving you a wake up call, then by all means wake up. Don't delay or deny or deceive yourself to think it is unnecessary. Some people who do not heed the wake up call suffer tragic consequences.
In the words of our son Brantley, "What kind of idiot dies in Paradise?" And God doesn't want you to die either. Whistle for help and stop fighting. Let God be your lifeguard. You can do what Brantley did and safely return home.
~ Pastor Ron