Life is a river. Beautiful, intricate, sometimes devastating. Some days tranquil, other days roaring. Sometimes low, other times high. On occasion quiet and soothing, while all too often foaming and loud. Yet there are always people. Floating in the river, flailing in the water, simply trying to stay afloat.
And people follow people. They grope for trends, they mimic, they adjust until they’re like everyone else. They want to fit in. They want to blend. They want to drift away in a current most find too hard to swim against.
I am a Christian. I’m swimming in a river that keeps trying to suck me back. The water is swift. Sometimes it yanks me under. Sometimes I have to grope for a rock, a branch . . . anything that will stop me from going the wrong way.
People are floating by me. Family, friends, strangers. So many people . . . and they’re not even trying. They’re letting the water carry them. Some of them seem at ease. Comfortable. Oblivious to where they’re headed. Don’t they know that just down the river, there’s a waterfall that will cascade them to their death?
I reach for them, but they turn away. I scream at them . . . pleading, begging, wailing. But the roar of the water is so loud, they can’t even hear me. The water splashes into their face, their eyes, and suddenly they’re blinded to me. I can’t make them realize.
Sometimes I pause. I stop stroking long enough to glance backward. I watch them reach that place in the river . . . the place that pulls them under, throws them over the edge. No turning back now. I hear their scream. I know they’re dying. It’s the most wretched thing in the world.
Keep swimming. You think no one is listening, no one is watching. Keep swimming. Stroke after painful stroke. Screaming until your throat is raw and burns. Keep swimming. Dipping, sinking, falling under. Keep swimming. Surfacing. Breathing. Keep swimming. No matter what. Safety at the end. Peace at the end. Hope at the end. Keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming.
Because someone is watching. Maybe a stranger drifting by . . . someone you don’t even know. At first they don’t understand. Why would anyone swim against the current? Only they see you struggle. They know life is hard and that the trials keep coming, and yet you swim on. You have peace. They see that. They want that. And maybe . . . maybe they reach for you. Maybe you catch them by the hand, even as you swim onward. Maybe they change directions. Maybe they fight the current too, because you showed them how.
Keep swimming. Let the words echo throughout the corridors of your being. Let the meaning sink in and become real. Keep swimming. It may seem that no one cares that you are a Christian. It may seem that no one notices, no one hears your warnings of Hell. Keep swimming anyway. Because whether you know it or not, someone is watching. Life isn’t easy, but doesn’t that build your testimony? Isn’t that a statement within itself? Keep swimming. When the river gets rough, swim harder. When you think you’re drowning, breathe deeper. When you know you’re sinking, splash bigger. Smile. Be happy. Be strong. Be courageous. Fight. Endure. Do it for Jesus. Do it for the people passing by you, for the people you interact with. Do it for the safety that is waiting not so far away.
The river is long and the current is overpowering.
But someone is watching.
Jesus is with you.
So swim on.