"Special Warning"

China 2015

Special Warning

Several years ago I came out to Southern California to go through a treatment center because I was going through some spiritual riptides in my life and while I was there I decided to take up surfing, so I bought a surfboard and wetsuit and away I went, to get pounded on by the waves of the Pacific Ocean. So late one evening I went to the beach and decided to go surfing, it was almost dark and the waves were quite large and the seas rough but we thought it would be a great experience to surf at night…not the brightest idea I’ve had. I had noticed a sign posted on the beach with a “Special Warning" about the dangerous Rip Currents in the area, but being coerced by another novice surfer to go out in the water at night time seemed like a good idea especially since I thought of myself as being a strong swimmer. The waves were to rough for me to even get past the first line of breakers(that was my sign) so my friend took the surfboard for me past the breakers while I swam beside him, once out in the ocean my friend caught the first wave and rode safely to the beach, while me on the other hand seemed to be getting further and further away from the light of the pier and the beach grew dimmer and dimmer. Before long I was floating around helplessly and hopelessly in the ocean, at night. Every once in awhile as a wave crested about me I could see the dim lights of the shore line and I grew frantic with fear realizing now that I was now caught in a strong rip current and was being swept out to sea. As I tried to paddle toward shore as hard as I possibly could I realized that I was going nowhere but further out to sea and was getting exhausted, to make matters even worse now the tune to the movie “Jaws” kept playing loudly in my head.

After several minutes, I began to make my peace with God and prepare myself for what I thought was going to be my certain death, either from hypothermia, drowning or even being eaten by a shark, as I lay there on my surfboard and prayed, a certain calm and peace came over me and I remembered something I had either been told or read about swimming parallel to coast when caught in a rip current so I started swimming and after what seemed like an eternity, eventually a large wave began to swell up beneath me and I thought, I need to catch this wave so I pushed the nose of the board into the wave and it seems to lift me right up and I was able to coast on in past the breakers and eventually catch a couple others straight up to the beach. As I lay on the beach totally exhausted and freezing cold, I began to thank God for delivering me from a certain death. The friend I was with was certain that I had been swept out to sea and had already enlisted the help of several people in the area to help find me, when he walked up to me on the beach, at that very moment we both knew that we had been in way over our heads and made a pact with each other never again to get in the ocean at night for one but most importantly we knew that we needed to heed the “Special Warning” signs. I am now 51 years old and have been surfing many times, but never again have I been in the ocean at night.

I had been caught up in a spiritual rip current that caused me to be in the treatment center in the first place, I had ignored the “Special Warning” signs in my own life. And just like the natural rip current, I had been swept away spiritually. The attacks at times can come in almost unseen and unnoticed but with certain grim results, we, often times don’t realize until we are being swept away in there grip, floating around in the vast ocean of despair.


A rip current, commonly referred to simply as a rip, or by the misnomer "rip tide", is one specific kind of water current that can be found near beaches. It is a strong, localized, and rather narrow current of water. It is strongest near the surface of the water, and it moves directly away from the shore, cutting through the lines of breaking waves.[1]

Rip currents can occur at any beach where there are breaking waves: on oceans, seas, and large lakes. The location of rip currents can be unpredictable: while some tend to reoccur always in the same place, others can appear and disappear suddenly at various locations near the beach.[2]

A rip current forms because breaking waves push water towards the land. Water that has been pushed up near the beach flows together (as feeder currents), and this water finds a place where it can flow back out to sea. The water then flows out at a right angle to the beach in a tight current called the "neck" of the rip, where the flow is most rapid. When the water in the rip current reaches outside of the lines of breaking waves, the flow loses power, and dissipates in what is known as the "head" of the rip. Sometimes tendrils of left-over current then actually curve back towards the shore.

Rip currents can be hazardous to people who are in the water. Swimmers or floaters who are caught in a rip and who do not understand what is going on, may not have the necessary water skills, may panic, or may exhaust themselves by trying to swim directly against the flow of water. Because of these factors, rips are the leading cause of rescues by lifeguards at beaches, and in the US rips are responsible for an average of 46 deaths from drowning each year.

Below is from an article I read:

Riptides are stronger when the surf is rough as the result of a storm. When we go through rough times and difficult circumstances, the pull of the enemy can be the strongest. He can attack our minds with thoughts of fear, anxiety, doubt and worry. These thoughts can work like riptides as they try to bring us into the deep waters of discouragement, depression, or despair.

Riptides are also stronger when the tide is low. We need to guard our hearts whenever we sense we are emotionally or physically down. If we are not careful, we can be swept into the enemy’s riptide of lies when we are overworked, exhausted, physically weak, or going through great stress or disappointment.

If you sense you have been pulled into the enemy’s riptide, do not panic; do not try and fight your way out in your own strength. Instead, cry out to the Lord and ask Him to deliver you. In Psalm 34:6 we read, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” The Lord is your deliverer, your redeemer, your rescuer, your lifeguard. He is mighty to save; He will rescue you and keep you from going under.

I am reminded of the scripture in Luke 8:22-26

Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples:and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep:and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water:and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

When God calls us with certainty to go to a place, no matter what storms may arise, no matter what jeopardy we may be in, if we will heed the “Warning” signs and call on our Master, that we will arrive at our destiny.