A few days ago off the coast of Australia a man survived for 20 hours in the ocean by treading water. Several hammerhead sharks were swimming around him when he was finally rescued.
The man was one of three on a fishing boat that capsized and sank. He was the lone survivor. The body of one of his companions was found but the other fisherman has not been found. The man who survived did not have on a lifejacket or any other clothing at the time of his rescue. He stayed afloat by treading water.
The man was first spotted floating in the water by a news crew flying over the area in a helicopter as part of a search and rescue operation. Pictures taken from the helicopter showed the 49-year-old man waving his arms and holding his hands in a praying position as he hoped for rescue.
An airplane and boat involved in the search and rescue effort headed to the man’s location. A life raft was dropped by parachute, but the man was too tired and weak to swim to where the raft landed. He continued treading water while a rescue boat pulled along side and, with help, he was pulled into the safety of the boat.
Meanwhile, the dramatic rescue was captured on film by the news crew complete with pictures of the hammerhead sharks circling around the man and the news reporter dramatically calling attention to the sharks.
The man was taken to a hospital in Perth, Australia, where he was reported to be recovering.
This is a dramatic story with a happy ending for the unidentified fisherman, and it set me to thinking and asking myself some questions.
Could I tread water for 20 hours? Probably not under normal circumstances. I would reach a certain level of tiredness, quit, and get out of the water. But what if that was not an option, as was the case for the Australian fisherman? My guess is that, like he did, I could tread water for a long time if my life depended on it. No doubt, you could, too.
Fortunately, very few of us will find ourselves afloat at sea and having to tread water to stay alive. However, most of us likely will face situations or circumstances in life in which, figuratively speaking, we feel like we are treading water. We are afloat in our sea of circumstances and can’t see the shore. How long can we tread water and stay afloat?
Maybe longer than we think, as did the fisherman; but, just as he could survive only so long by himself, we can stay afloat only so long. No matter how hard we tread water, the time will come when rescue is necessary or we sink. I don’t know about you, but I have found rescue through my faith in God. If you are treading water, His search and rescue efforts are always in operation.