When I Broke the Law and Swam with Crocodiles

When I Broke the Law and Swam with Crocodiles

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Last week I went sailing with a small Summit Leaders team to the Dry Tortugas National Park off the coast of Florida. It took us ten hours to sail there. We pulled in a few hours before sunset and anchored our boat a ways off the shore.

The next morning I got an impulse to swim to the island. So, without thinking much, I jumped in. About ten minutes into the swim I realized it was much further than I had thought. But that wasn’t the scary part. As I looked in the clear water I remembered the crocodile that lives on the island. A mental image started looping through my mind of him coming up from below and ripping me to shreds.

I started freaking out. I swam harder, but I was already exhausted.

I eventually made it to the shore. Completely exhausted. A park ranger who lives on the island came up to me. “Are you the one that just did that epic swim?”

“Uh, yes sir.” I said, standing there soaking wet.

“That’s not legal. You can’t swim there. It’s too dangerous.”

I apologized. He let me off with a warning.

For the rest of the day I was thinking about that swim. And crocodiles. What was I thinking? I thought about how many dangerous things there are in life. There are so many things I’m afraid of. I have brief moments of courage, but most of the time I’m in a constant battle with fear.

Will we have enough money? Will our little baby be healthy? What if my house flooded while I was gone? What if I get a disease or cancer?

That fear has a tendency to cripple me. It makes we want to cower in the fetal position and do nothing. But I’ve been serving God long enough to know living that way isn’t really an option. Life is going to happen either way.

So the only real option is to wake up every morning, put your shoulders back, and be brave. Seek wisdom and know the risk, but then step out anyway. I’m pretty convinced it’s the only real way to live like Jesus wants. It requires faith. Faith in something beyond your own ability to protect and provide for yourself.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

God rewards faith with a full, adventurous life. Swimming with crocodiles does not make one brave. But boldly facing every day of life no matter what could go wrong does. It also shows the world that our hope is in something greater.

So get out there and be brave. Don’t over think it. Just live courageously.

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. –Basil King