“DADDY! PLEASE SAVE ME!”
This still rings in my ears to this day as I recall how we almost lost our daughter after we ignored a simple warning.
It was a sunny day after a week of thunderstorms and gloomy skies. We received the usual warning notification on our phones about the strong winds and big waves, and to avoid going into deep waters. However, contrary to that warning, the seas seemed very calm and inviting.
“Let’s go to the beach today!”, my children excitedly shouted.
Upon arriving at the beach, we immediately rushed to the peaceful clear blue waters after realizing that there were no other people except the cottage owners. The sun was shining bright but the wind was blowing cold, probably because of the rainy days prior.
We rented a unicorn floater for my daughter and played with her. There were four adults there with two kids, so we were confident that we could take care of them. We held on to the floaters as they glided through the small waves. We chased them in the shallow waters as they drifted to the side. It was so much fun. Everything was under control.
Until it was not…
My daughter glided through the waters, just flowing with the waves, as we took turns holding on to her floater, when all of a sudden, the winds blew stronger in a different direction, drifting my little girl towards the deep. We were still calm and still confident that everything was under control. After all, it was my husband’s hometown, he knows the place. He knows the ocean. Swimming comes second nature to him.
My husband swam towards her, but as he tried to grab her floater, the wind blew stronger and stronger, drifting her farther away. He swam faster and harder until he realized he could no longer breathe properly and was already in a panic. He had to stop chasing her, otherwise, both of them would drown.
“Daddy! Please save me!” My poor little girl cried as she was looking back at my husband while holding tightly to the floater, drifting farther away. My husband knew he couldn’t save her anymore. He turned to me, now at least 15 meters away, and with his remaining strength, he shouted, “HELP!”
After we shouted for help, a young man jumped into the water to try to swim towards the floater, but just like my husband, he ran out of air, had cramps, and had to stop. The floater drifted faster and farther away. We could barely hear my daughter’s cry anymore. The wind just took her away. We were almost losing hope. I was losing my precious little girl right before my eyes. I remember praying to God to please hold on to His dear daughter and to save her.
She was finally saved by another young man who jumped into the water with a boat. He paddled like lightning! As my daughter drifted towards the big rocks, and while she was holding tightly for her life, even after being swayed back and forth by the strong wind, the little boat came to her rescue.
I know had we listened to the warnings and not relied on our own understanding, that accident could’ve been avoided.
The Lord has given us the wisdom to discern what is right and wrong, and also commandments to lead us to ultimate safety and happiness.
Have you also had any experiences when you confidently trusted your mind, wisdom, and experiences, and missed the warnings?
It could be a red flag in a relationship that you ignored, a symptom of a disease we downplayed, not prioritizing our health after several reminders from doctors, or breaking small rules and then bigger ones, until it was almost too late.
In my case, it was a warning we ignored because of how seemingly beautiful the weather was. We depended on what we could see with our eyes, and because we simply wanted to have fun.
Because we wanted to have fun, we ignored the warnings from people who could see the real situation of the weather, people who knew better about the waves and the seas. We relied on our own understanding, which led us to an almost tragic accident.
Having fun is not wrong, but ignoring the warnings is. Not only will it bring harm to us, but it will also drift us away from the presence of the Holy Ghost, who is our constant companion to guide us to safety and eternal happiness.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.”
With so many voices around us, including ours, it is important to recognize the Lord’s voice. In our time, these warnings and guiding principles are everywhere we go. We have the scriptures to have constant communication with the Lord to direct our daily paths, spiritual leaders, our families, teachers, community leaders, laws set in our communities, and many more!
There are promised blessings if we listen to these warnings, such as unity in our homes and community, safety, peace of mind, success in our daily endeavors, and a stronger connection with the Holy Ghost—these are all life-changing effects of listening and when we lean not on our own understanding.
The Atonement allows us to repent and redirect our paths back to Him.
In a General Conference talk, Elder Kim B. Clark said, “None of us are perfect. Sometimes we get stuck. We get distracted or discouraged. We stumble. But if we look to Jesus Christ with a repentant heart, He will lift us, cleanse us from sins, forgive us and heal our hearts.”
Although we are to constantly follow Him, the Lord understands that we make mistakes from time to time, that is why He has provided a way for us to redirect our paths back to safety when we have gone off course.
Even when we sometimes are stubborn to heed the warnings, the Lord still sends us help at the right time, to save us. Just as my husband accepted the fact that the situation was no longer under his control, and cried for help, we too must learn to let God take control of our lives and situations. However, we need to be sensitive to the ways the Lord helps us, and then recognize them quickly because the water will rise quickly too. My dear daughter was saved just in time and was brought back to safety. God sent help just when we needed it most.
As Dieter F. Uchtdorf lovingly reminded us, “God wants you to find your way back to Him, and the Savior is the way.” He atoned for our sins, bled in Gethsemane, and died on the cross, to make it possible for us to turn away from our sins and weaknesses, and be pure again to enter the kingdom of the Lord.
May we not lose hope when we make mistakes. After all, Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Redeemer died for the ones who sinned, not for the ones who are perfect. He will always accept us with arms wide open when we turn our hearts to Him in repentance. We may sometimes fall down, but He will always be there to catch us and guide us back to safety.