In 1975, the Steven Spielberg – directed mega-hit movie Jaws terrorized theaters all over the world, and life at the beach would never be the same. For years to follow, people thought twice before setting foot in the water. Over the next decade, several sequels followed, with each Jaws being bigger, scarier, and more deadly than the one before. Since then, other filmmakers have followed suit with shark-related thrillers such as Deep Blue Sea, Open Water, and many more. In recent years, one of the biggest weeks annually for The Discovery Channel is the much-hyped Shark Week — a week of programming that focuses primarily on sharks and the study of these deadly beasts.
Recently, Paulette and I were spending a few days in Destin, FL, following a visit with her mother.
We were enjoying a day at the beach… umbrella, lounge chairs, perfect weather, and a good book. At one point, I decided to go in the unusually calm and beautifully clear waters for a swim. As I waded in the shallows, I soon noticed a little girl around 7-years-old standing not far away. She had on a sun hat and looked at me somewhat concerned. She called out…
“Are there sharks out here today?!?!”
I was a little taken aback by her question, but soon observed she was quite serious.
I called back, “No, I don’t think so.”
She said to me, “You know they bite children.”
“Yes,” I said, “but I do not see any here”.
She then gave me — the obvious pushover granddaddy type — an order.
“You watch for them while I play,” she said.
“Yes ma’am,” I dutifully replied..
As I splashed around, she never got more than about ten feet away. True to my word, I spent around 45 minutes watching for sharks. As I made my way out of the water, she followed, not wanting to be in the sea without her “shark watcher”.
“Bye!” she called out. “I’ll be back tomorrow!”
Later, as I contemplated the time spent with my new friend, this parallel came to my mind.
Who will watch our kids and grandkids? Who will keep them safe
from the “sharks” in this world we are leaving them?
Think about it… a corrupt culture in moral decline, predators, Islamic terror, drugs, gender confusion, demonic attacks, and unstable family situations. The very places children should feel safe, they often don’t. The very people they should trust to keep them safe, they sometimes can’t.
Who will be there for all their tomorrows? Who will watch while they grow, play, and learn?
The family should be the first line of protection and nurturing for young minds and hearts. Schools and safe communities should be places where children should be able to go without fear of physical or mental abuse and injury, or immoral and Godless indoctrination.
Yet, may I say that we in the church must be there so that the next generation can discover the beauty of God’s ocean and world while some of us watch for the sharks. We need to help young parents “train up their children in the way they should go” — God’s way — “so that when they are old, they don’t depart from it.”
We need to be the Lifeguards at the pool of society.
We need to be the Shark Watchers on the shark-infested sea of life.
We need to be the Watchmen (and women) on the Wall of a culture filled with predators and pitfalls.
I said to my little friend (whose parents were telling her to leave that poor man alone)…
“Yes dear… if I see you tomorrow, I will watch for the sharks.”