Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)
By Sally Hanan
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Thirty onlookers stood around, some crying, some vainly collecting buckets of saltwater from the ocean to pour over the whale’s massive bulk.
A barge sputtered at the edge of the sand, resigned but still waiting for the affirmative signal to hook up the remaining whale and tow him out to the life-giving water.
The emergency services officers had no suggestions left. Veterinarians could only monitor his life signs. Scientists documented their minute-by-minute observations.
The whale was simply too big to handle, and he died.
Beaching seems to be common on the shallow shelving beaches of the world. One theory on why is that the whales’ sonar systems don’t detect the gradual change in the water’s depth. Once they get close to a grounding situation they need to be guided back out to their natural and life-supporting habitat.
Too many backsliders end up like this beached whale. In the springtime of their conversion every one of them has a sonar system attuned to God’s guiding voice. That system consists of the Holy Spirit, the holiness within, and the community of saints around them. The more often their old lies successfully return to darken the truth, the more compromise into personal sin any of them allow, the less aware they are of the gradual change in the depths of God’s presence. They need to be put back on track at the first sign of misdirection with loving hands, while the water is still deep.
If this does not happen, and a backslider lies stranded on the sands of secular living, will Christians rush down to him, crying and repeatedly pouring refreshing truth from the springs of life over him? Will tugboat Christians hover at the edge of the comfortable water line, resigned but waiting still? Will they hold out a hook but be unwilling to step onto the sand? How many will monitor lifestyle, document sins and shake heads over the choices made, believing that this one’s sins are too big to handle?
There were thirty people on the beach that day for some whales. Will any be around for the beached backslider?
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