Swimming Unadvised

by | May 24, 2004 | Deliverance, Sin

While camping in one of our favorite beaches this past summer, we noticed a sign with a bright red stripe running diagonally from the top to the bottom: “Swimming Unadvised!” Since this type of a warning is not exactly a welcome one when you are camping at the beach, we went to take a closer look. Written in smaller letters (naturally!) underneath the original warning was the reason behind it: The bacteria level in the waters of that particular beach were excessively high. Any contact with this water could cause serious health problems.

Now, this was not a new thing for the beaches off the shores of the Great Lakes, and we had often heard horror stories about people becoming seriously ill after swimming in these conditions. Fortunately, there was more than one beach at the campground, and after checking with the camp office, we were relieved to learn that the beach area closest to where our trailer was parked was clear for swimming.

The “off-limits” beach drew my attention however, and with my wife and my camera as company, I headed out to explore. As we approached, we began to notice certain changes. For example, a sickening odor emanated from the lake waters and the number of dead fish washed up on shore multiplied. The ground also changed. The sand gave way to some kind of a crunchy layer, and it took me a minute to realize that I hadn’t just stepped on a Mars Bar wrapper, but instead was walking on some kind of dried up, sick-looking algae. Then, without warning, one of my feet sank through the hard outer crust and into some kind of goo-like substance just beneath the surface. To my dismay, I had trouble freeing my foot from the suction-like force of this goo, and my shoe quickly turned a brownish-gray color and the sickening odor that blew in off the lake mushroomed.

“Your shoe stinks!” remarked my wife in her expert manner, when I had finally freed it from its prison.

She was right, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it at the moment, so while holding my breath to avoid being asphyxiated by the nauseating smell, I quickly took a few pictures.

That’s when we noticed some kids swimming in the middle of the forbidden waters. They didn’t seem to be bothered by the goo or the smell. They had but one goal in mind: to have fun no matter what the consequences. They were so focused on their fast-action game in the forbidden waters that they totally ignored the warning signs.

Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to find people ignoring warning signs in this world. Some get away with it, but others suffer serious consequences, some of which even lead to death. Are the consequences really worth the brief moment of thrill?

This reminds me of sin. We tend to ignore the warning signs that God gives us. The “me first” attitude seems to become the most popular motto, and people literally dive in. The consequences? Addictions, broken homes, illness, pain. We try to break free, but our futile attempts are unsuccessful. Too late we discover that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). We can’t seem to believe that the price Jesus paid for our sins is enough.

Anyone who gets to know Jesus personally, however, will discover that freedom from sin’s deadly grip IS available, thanks solely to the merits of Jesus’ blood. However, nothing WE can do will save us: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9 NIV) Only Jesus can help us become effectively free: “By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Heb 10:14 NIV); and “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)

We have a choice to make. We can continue in our sickening involvement with sin, or we can experience the liberating power of our risen Saviour Jesus Christ.

“Sinning Unadvised!” What are YOU going to do?

Rob Chaffart


Swimming Unadvised