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Lifeguards and fathers
pastor corner

Dr. Lawrence Butler

The Bridge Church, Pembroke

Many people my age had some rural influence in their early lives.

Your grandparents may have still been living on the farm as mine were, and though our parents lived and worked in the city they had grown up on those farms. It is not a stretch to think that many of you had similar experiences to me. For example, my Dad would often visit his parents who lived about 35 miles west of Savannah in a small country town that still closed down for half-a-day during the week.

Despite the fact that Pembroke was the county seat of Bryan County, it was not a busy place. Young people managed to find ways to have fun, even though it was different than those in the city. What a joy it was when my Dad took his three sons swimming in the Canoochee River, the dividing marker between Bryan and Evans counties.

My dad was a strong swimmer as well as a strong man. He never seemed afraid of anything. As we played in the dark waters of the river my older brothers were swimming and splashing around, seeming to have more fun than the youngest (me) who was afraid of the water. Finally, my dad put me on his back and swam across the dark river. I was never afraid, and no way was I falling off because of my grip on his neck. If somehow I did slip off, I knew my dad would take care of me.

Then came the day when we all made the trip to the YMCA to learn how to be better swimmers, or in my case, learn how not to drown. The first class was one of the most memorable of my life.

The instructor decided to make us swim across the deep end of the pool. One by one kids swam across until it was my turn. I actually made it about halfway before beginning to sink. The instructor had to dive in and push me to the other side or I would have been the first casualty of that particular class (I hope he was wearing some good clothes so they got soaking wet – served him right for putting me through this). Anyway, I survived, learned to become an excellent swimmer despite being traumatized. This never happened with my dad around.

For those who have lost children to death, I will tell you there was absolutely no fear in my mind as I sank beneath the water – only peace. Jesus really does love children (Matt. 19:14). Trust Him even when you don’t understand.

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