Contributed by Pastor Sandra Berryman, Island Methodist Church

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water,  not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water,  not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father, in the house, looking out the window, saw the two as they got closer and closer together.  In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached dad, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim, and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal, and on his arms were deep scratches where his father’s fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him the scars on his legs. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms.  I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my father did not let go.” You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But, rather, the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret.

Although we are wounded and carry deep scars in our memories, my friend, God has refused to let go of us. In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you. If you have Christ in your life, you have become a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way.

But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-o-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful.

Our Father in Heaven did not – and will not – let you go.