The first crisis I can remember experiencing came when I was four years old and fell backward into a swimming pool. I couldn’t swim and my mom was in another country… it seemed. I was going down for sure, but after a heroic effort and what seemed like an eternity (but was really just a few brief seconds) I grabbed the rail and was safe again. After that I learned to swim.

The first crisis I don’t remember came when I was three years old and buried Grandma’s false teeth somewhere in the back garden. We never found them again, but Grandma always seemed to enjoy telling the story.

As a young man, Joseph faced a much greater crisis than mine when he was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, and then wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife. Joseph learned to swim by trusting in God.

Daniel was also young when he faced his crisis—he was separated from his family, taken to another country, and forced to embrace its culture. Daniel learned to swim by trusting in God.

Moses’ world fell apart at an older age when he trusted in himself. He then spent 40 years learning how to swim by trusting in God.

David’s crisis came when his life was threatened by a jealous king. David too learned to swim by trusting in God.

The disciples faced their crises when Jesus was crucified. Yet as the risen Christ was revealed to them, they put their trust fully in Him—and learned to swim.

What crisis are you facing right now? Are you trying to manage it by yourself? A crisis can be seen as a friend or an enemy, a time to sink or swim.

In a crisis we learn to swim, to trust in the power of God rather than our own strength.

The Bible reminds us that the trials of life do not need to take us down. Instead of sinking down in despair, we can learn to swim, to depend totally on God and grab the rail His promises if we fall back into the waters of this world. They encourage us to give our deepest hurts and hopes to God in prayer. They urge us to feed upon His word for strength. They insist that no matter how bad things look, we can trust the Most High. Amen.

James Rafferty

James has spent more than 30 years preaching the gospel around the world in revival seminars and evangelistic meetings. He and his wife Risë have two adult children, Jeiel and Kierra.