As we all grew into our mid-teens, we experienced new and exciting things. Every day was a new adventure for us, especially in the summer. During the carefree days of summer, we created some of the greatest memories of all times. This is one of those memories.
It was extremely hot that year, hotter than it had ever been before. That summer was one of the hottest on record. Because the lake was shallow, it felt like a warm tub. We couldn't escape the heat that summer, so we headed down to Bella Coola.
Bella Coola was the name of the road that took us to the back side of the lake where there were creeks that flowed into the lake. The creeks never seemed to move; the water just stood still.
The water was so dark, and the unknowns were real. It's funny looking back now; the snakes and alligators never seemed to bother us. We just tried to make sure they knew we were there.
Black Creek was our destination. The water was cool, black, and deep. There was just enough room to pull our cars over in the tall grass before arriving at the bridge. The silver guardrail on the bridge was flattened by people who had been there before us, and their names were carved into the thick, painted surface. Ours were too by then. We had earned our right to put our names on that rail. Anyone who would swim there deserved the honor.
At any time, there were two or twenty of us swimming at that hole. One thing was for sure; if we were first on the scene, we always picked up a large rock and threw it in. This was to announce our arrival to the snakes and alligators. The first one in was a dare thing, "You go first, no you go, no you go." Once we saw that person make it to shore with all their limbs, we figured it was clear.
One game we loved to play was underwater tag. The water was so dark you couldn't see anything once you went under a foot or two. To get tagged, you had to be under water; the rules were the name of the game. I would always shoot for the bottom, grabbing a log or something that was sticking up from the bottom. I would sit there in the dark water, wondering what was near me. Every now and then, something would tickle my leg or back, and I would swim to the top of the water. Then I would run up the shore to the top of the bridge, screaming, “Snake! Alligator!” We all would clear out and jump in again, laughing so hard we would almost lose our breath.
One thing about Black Creek, it brought out the best in us. Want to know why? Even though it may seem stupid to swim where you know the snakes and alligators live and where you can’t see through the murky darkness of the water, this journey represents our life.
We live with the snakes and alligators of life every day. We live in the unknown of what's next, and if you know Jesus Christ, there is never darkness. As with Black Creek, there may be dark times, but someday you will surface to the top victorious. You will surface screaming, “I made it! I made it! I made it!” You will live to tell others your story of the Black Creek you swam through.
One more thing about Black Creek I need to mention—it's quiet and lonely in the darkness. When you're under the water about ten feet down, there is nothing but stillness. No sound, no light, and no hope of being found. So, the question to you is, “Are you in Black Creek?”
If you are, there is always hope! Hope in Jesus Christ. Don't let Satan keep you under that deep, dark water. It will kill you, and that is what he wants to do!
1 Timothy 1:15-19 (MSG) “Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.”
Fight to swim to the top. Fight to get up that hill. Fight to get back on that bridge and jump for joy when you reach the top. Thank God for His mercy, and by His grace, we will make it. By His mercy, we will stand and prepare for another amazing adventure.