When We Don’t Recognize the Warning Signs of Danger

Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee Brian and I took our lives, and the lives of three of our grandchildren into our own hands. Am I being overly dramatic? You decide…

It was a warm afternoon in Georgia, we were babysitting, and we decided an adventure was in order. The Chattahoochee river is accessible from the cul-de-sac our kids live on and though we’d never been down to the river we thought it would be a fun way to cool off and explore something new.

There are groomed paths we could have taken, but this was an adventure so we pushed through the brush at the end of the street then slipped and slid down the tree roots that served as stairs along about fifteen feet of riverbank/cliff until we were at the water’s edge. We stepped across rocks and muddy tufts of grass to climb the boulders in the river.

We’d heard The Hooch was shallow and slow but we were surprised to see it surely wasn’t; there were even a few white-water areas. Our oldest grandson, Jake, noted the water was moving faster than when he and his dad were last there, and it seemed deeper. Hmmm.

The boys started searching for the perfect flat stone for a skipping lesson from Papa, and as they looked for rocks, Jake noticed the water was creeping up on the boulder. I looked, and sure enough, I could see the water rising. Hmmm.

Jake wondered aloud if there had been a dam release; but he reassured us there are sirens before they open the dam. Hmmm.

Is it too late to insert that while I was waiting for the school bus, just a few minutes earlier, I had heard sirens? I thought there was a traffic incident, however, it did seem odd that the sirens kept going, and going. Hmmm.

We immediately decided we needed to leave, but the path on which we’d crossed just a few minutes before was now covered in water; knee-deep water. Brian quickly carried Stella across while Jake, Matt, and I followed him into the cold water. Matt lost his balance and I grabbed him to keep him from going under. Jake got across next, and by the time I was crossing the middle of the path the water was mid-thigh. We scurried up the tree-root-steps to the top of the bank and when I looked back, water covered the boulders we had stood on.

Ignorance is always a recipe for danger

In our ignorance of all things Chattahoochee, we put ourselves and our grandchildren in grave danger. Thankfully, Jake was observant and more knowledgeable than we were.

I’ve since researched and learned that a dam release on The Hooch can raise the water by eleven feet, the temp in summer can be as cold as 47º, and the current can sweep you away.

Was I being overly dramatic when I said we took our lives into our own hands? No, I don’t think so. We erred because we did not know the details about, nor did we know the power of, the Chattahoochee River.

We erred because we did not know the details about, nor did we know the power of, the Chattahoochee River.

Our dangerous escapade is not much different than the way many Christians take their lives into their own hands.

Ignorance of God is a recipe for spiritual danger

When we are ignorant of the ways of God we blindly walk into potentially devastating circumstances because we choose to live by our own instincts rather than seek God’s instruction. We put ourselves helplessly in the throes of white water rapids because we rely on their feelings to lead us rather than choosing holiness as our guide. Because we don’t understand warning signs in order to heed them, strong cultural currents sweep us headlong into disaster.

When we don’t know the way of God, the character of God, or the will of God, we live dangerously on the edge of destruction

When we fail to know the way of God, the character of God, or the will of God, and when we fail to study – let alone submit to – the Words of God, we live dangerously on the edge of destruction.

We are called to live godly lives – holy lives – and only as we do that can we escape the world’s corruption and calamities. But, how can we live holy lives if we do not have a growing knowledge of God? We err because we do not know the Scriptures, nor do we know the power of God (Matthew 22:29).

God has given us all that we need to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3-7), but if we do not utilize what we have been given, if we aren’t familiar with the knowledge and wisdom available to us, we don’t know how to live in holiness. Rather, we erroneously make our decisions based on what everyone else is doing, what the culture embraces, or what our deceptive hearts tell us is good for us.

Our grandson, in his familiarity with the Chattahoochee, was wise enough to point out what we should have seen. If it had not been for his warnings, God only knows what might have been our outcome.

Who in your life is familiar with where you are because they’ve been there, they know the danger, they know the warning signs, and they have knowledge of God? Is there someone, anyone, looking out for you and warning you that danger is coming? Are there warning signs that you consistently overlook? Are you studying God’s Word to know where danger is lurking? If not, whose life are you taking into your own hands? Yours? Your children? Your grandchildren?

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:17-18)

All photos were taken by Nicole Furrow on a sunny day when The Hooch was quiet.

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Marcia’s book, 365 Days of Grace — is currently available on any of the following links:
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2 thoughts on “When We Don’t Recognize the Warning Signs of Danger

  1. J.D. Wininger

    Well said ma’am. Often, we ignore the warning signs given by the Holy Spirit and we dive headlong into the cesspool that is this world. When we write God’s word on our hearts, we find an increase in our “Spiritual Awareness” that enables us to more quickly recognize and respond to danger. Much like your Jake, we have to take note of the world around us. Compare those inputs to what we know in our hearts, and respond accordingly. Well said ma’am. And might I add, it’s nice to find another Alan Jackson fan. 🙂 God’s blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

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