DAY 14: HE HEARS OUR CRIES FOR HELP. . . - 20 February 2019

By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

This past Sunday morning around 10:30, Yolanda Oosthuizen (53) and Anne Tait (67), two missionaries from Scotland who are visiting South Africa, went for a swim at Lappiesbaai at Stilbaai. Within minutes, they were caught in a stream pulling them deeper and deeper into the sea. When Yolanda saw that Anne could no longer hold her head above the water, she started calling for help.

A short distance away, 12-year-old Mialize Wessels, heard Yolanda’s cry and immediately informed her mother that they had to seek help for the women in need. Her mother was busy trying to get hold of the Sea Rescue Institute when 16-year-old Dewald van der Merwe, who was with them, picked up his body board and ran into the sea to rescue them.

Because Yolanda could no longer see Anne who had been washed deeper into the sea, she kept praying, "Jesus! Jesus! Please help Anne! Save us out of the water.” Dewald reached Anne just in time. With her last strength, she held onto his body board as he paddled as hard as he could to get her to the beach. Another surfer came to Yolanda’s rescue and got her safely out too.

On the beach, doctors assisted the two women.  Anne was then taken to the hospital in Mossel Bay due to the water in her lungs. In reaction to what happened, Yolanda said: “I met all Stilbaai's heroes in one day. The boy on the body board was an angel and he and the others were definitely sent by the Lord to help us. It is an absolute miracle that we have survived and we give God all the glory!”

At times in our lives, we experience situations or seasons which make us feel like the women, stuck in a stream. The harder we try to get out of it, the more tired and discouraged we become. And at times, we might even experience that moment, like Anne’s, where we struggle to keep our heads above water!

May we turn our Bibles during those moments to Psalm 50:15, where God says, “Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” In Psalm 46: 1-3 we also read: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” And in Psalm 37:39 it is written: “The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble.”

Did God hear Yolanda and Anne's prayers for help in the water? He did. Did He position Mialize and Dewald to hear and respond to their cries? I'm sure of it.

If it feels like you are trapped in the "drag stream" of life and you're struggling to keep your head above water, I encourage you to call out to God. He never sleeps nor slumbers and He can send people to save you from your "waters". And if we, on the other hand, hear cries for help from people around us, may we be like the 16-year-old Dewald, picking up our boards while running into the water (even if it costs us something) to help those in need. In this way we are demonstrating God’s love to a broken world. God bless.

Father God, thank you for helping me through the tough times in my life. Please strengthen me today by your Holy Spirit and help me to also keep my eyes open to support those around me who feel as if they can no longer  handle the pressure of life. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

• See picture of Yolanda, Anne and Dewald at: https://www.facebook.com/storiesvanhoop/ or www.benescke.co.za.

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