Many years ago, I read in Reader’s Digest about an alligator attack. I’ve never been able to find the article again to brush up on the details. (If anyone is able to find the article I’m referencing, please send it to me.)
The way I remember the article, a boy was near water on the beach when an alligator came out of the water to attack him. The alligator had one goal…drag the boy underwater to drown him.
Somehow the boy’s mother was alerted and came running. She grabbed the boy’s arm and held with everything in her!
On the other side of the boy, the alligator was trying to yank the boy away. Desperately, the mother dug her nails into the boy’s arm. He must not be drug off! I don’t know how long they fought, but somehow help came, and the mom won! Miraculously, the boy’s life was spared!
Later, someone asked the boy if he had any scars. He raised his shirt sleeve and showed the fingernail imprints on his arm. He was proud of the marks that his mom left.
Sometimes I’m in my house oblivious to the struggle that is going on down on the beach. But sometimes, I hear noise and see the alligator.
How do we fight against an alligator? What do we do when we have the arm of someone we love, and we can feel that there is something on the other end trying its best to pull them down underneath the water? A tug of war pulling away from everything that we have held dear. Away from everything that we understand to be godly!
I don’t know how to hold on. I am amazed at the level that my parents held on for different ones. It was nothing for me to hear my mother praying in the night. It was modeled in front of me until part of the natural dialogue between me and my dolls at four years of age in the back room was to pray for my brother Joe. It was natural for my young mind to copy.
There are times that others will not understand the decisions that you have made in this tug of war. I don’t try to get it to make sense to anyone. How can I explain that I am trying to stick my little, bitty fingernails tightly around the arm of a loved one?
When one of my sisters was in labor, she suddenly looked up at her husband and said, “I’ve changed my mind. This is not what I want to do today.”
Another one of my sisters who was standing there was startled. My brother-in-law whispered, “Don’t worry. She says this each time.”
In the fight, sometimes I think I am not made out of the same stuff my mother and father were made out of. I think, “This isn’t really what I want to do today.”
My grip is not very strong.
But this week, my husband has reminded me of when Ivan Hazelwood’s family was visiting Mexico many years ago. Ivan was a young boy, playing by the edge of a well. He reached for something and started to fall in.
Another child, Jennifer Townley, was standing nearby and saw what was happening. In a split second, she reached out and grabbed Ivan’s legs before he fell. She was young and didn’t have enough strength to pull him out, but she held on to his legs until his dad came to help.
Ivan’s dad, Kevin, had longer arms and a stronger grip. He was able to lift Ivan.
So today, I hold on with my frail grip and ask for God. His arms are not shortened! He is mighty to save and strong to deliver. He can work when my strength fails.