We were at a beautiful beach near Fort de Fleur-Epee in Guadeloupe when I first heard the screaming child. He couldn’t have been more than 6 months old, just old enough to sit unsupported; and there he sat, screaming in fear, in about 3 inches of ocean water. Meanwhile, his father sat calmly by.
My first thought?
How can a good father just sit by and watch while his child screams in fear?
I’m afraid that something else caught my attention at that point, and I didn’t think anything more about the child and the ocean until the next day when we happened upon a similar scenario. We were walking along a tropical beach in Ste-Anne, Guadeloupe, when again my attention was drawn to a screaming child. This time it was a baby girl, and she couldn’t have been more than a year old. She was being held in her mother’s arms, but her mother was standing waist-deep in ocean water, and the breaking of the gentle waves sent sprays of seawater over the baby girl.
My first thought?
Again…How can that mother, no matter how protectively she was holding her child, just stand by and watch her baby scream in fear?
That’s when I remembered the screaming boy with his father the day before; but alas, my attention was then diverted to something else and it wasn’t until later that day that both incidences were brought back to mind. We were walking along yet another pristine tropical beach on the shores of Guadeloupe when yet another screaming child caught my attention. This was a baby boy who was likely under 6 months of age. He was also being held by his mother while she sat in the shallow water of the shoreline. Although she was obviously protective of her child, she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that each ocean spray caused him to scream even louder in fear…
That’s when God began to speak to me. You see, these were obviously loving parents. They were all right there protecting their babies. The reason they didn’t remove their children from the source of fear is that they knew something the babies did not know. They knew the water wouldn’t hurt their precious little ones. They knew that the fear in their babies was completely ungrounded, and that the fear of the ocean would only stand in the way of their safety, their fun, maybe even their livelihoods, as many in Guadeloupe are fishermen. They knew that the only way to help their dear little ones overcome their fear of water was…to expose them to it! And so they sat, all three loving parents, oblivious to the screaming of their babies…
I am so often just like those three babies. I have fears: Will I have enough money? What if I miss the bus? What will I do if something happens to my spouse? What would my family without me if something happened to me? How will I ever get all this work done? What will I do if ____ gets mad at me? How can I help ___ see that their fear is unfounded? What if I lose my job? How can I _______________….
Have you been there?
Perhaps you are their right now?
If so, then you, too, can emphasize with those three screaming babies. We don’t like what we see around us, we want to be away from the wind and the waves, and we don’t understand why our loving Heavenly Father doesn’t just pick us up out of the water and take us to safer, higher, dryer ground…
But the lesson that God really drove home for me from these ocean waves was this: Our loving Heavenly Father knows that we are not in any real danger. He is standing by to protect us from the really bad stuff, and even to comfort us through the waves. He knows that our fears will only stand in the way of a productive, faith-filled life, and will keep us from truly experiencing the freedom and joy He has for each of us. He also knows that in time we will learn to trust Him in the midst of the ocean waves, and so He allows us to “sit” in the “water” of trials for a time. But all the time He is there with His protective arms around us, with His protective hand on us, ever ready to sweep us away should any real danger arise.
Oh, what a loving heavenly Father we have!
Prayer: Father God, may I stop wishing away the trials of life. May I stop fearing them. May I put my faith in You and You alone, ever knowing that You will carry me through, and in the process, may I learn to trust in Your unfailing, everlasting love.
Feeling like a screaming baby?
Remember the Truth of Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (NIV)
Take a step back and trust Your Heavenly Father who is right there carrying you through. Trust Him to know what is best for you. Trust Him to teach you the lessons you need in life. Just…trust Him!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.