A FEW SUMMERS AGO, we took a family vacation to Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. At the tip of Baja where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, the waters are very rough, to the point that swimming is now not permitted on the Pacific Ocean side. However, from the Pacific side, where our hotel was located, there is a rocky ridge that people can climb over to get to the peaceful Sea of Cortez side. My grandson and I set out to do just that. He easily made it up over the rocks. However, weighing quite a bit more—and carrying shoes, towels, and swim gear—I was unable to do it. I have swum around the tip before in calmer conditions, but this time I decided to make a run for it around the rocks while the waves recessed—not the best idea. When the waves came in and picked me up and took me out to sea, I felt like I was inside a washing machine.
Within a couple of seconds I was about 150 feet out into the deep. No sooner was I dragged out to sea than I was violently thrown back into the rocks. While making every effort to escape, I was swept out again. This went on several times until I was exhausted. I felt myself being pulled under and was fighting to just get to the surface to get air. I kept fighting the waves, but to no avail; my strength was being exhausted, and I felt myself passing out. There appeared to be no way to escape.
It was then that my thought reached out to God. I remember what came to me: "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Ps. 61:2). I repeated this several times, and while at first it was a demand, it finally became a declaration of fact. The thought came to me to go to the bottom and crawl further out to sea, instead of trying to stay on the surface of the water. How could doing the opposite of what would be the normal inclination help me whatsoever? Yet I was obedient to this inspired thought. With what little strength and breath I had left, I literally went down to the bottom and grabbed the sand on the ocean floor, crawling 15 or 20 feet further out. Then I passed out. The next thing I knew, I was on the beach on the Sea of Cortez side. Evidently, when I crawled further out, the waves shot me back in at a different trajectory from the rocky ridge. When I awoke, two very kind locals were helping me, along with my grandson. I was in pretty bad shape and they in their own way were nursing me, cleaning me up, and staying with me until I could gain a sense of control again. My grandson and I repeated these lines from Mary Baker Eddy's hymn " 'Feed My Sheep' ": "I will listen for Thy voice, / Lest my footsteps stray" (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 304), and he supported me until I was able to get up. Together we walked back to the hotel.
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