In average towns along the eastern shoreline there once was a great fear of an unusual shark. Somehow it had made its way across the ocean to terrorize people up and down the seacoast. There was little doubt that people were being attacked and some were dying from the many sharks that had migrated west. The evidence of the sharks’ attacks was clear for anyone to see.
Lifeguards in every town were put on high alert by various officials. Most lifeguards decided it was best to keep people out of the water, safely on the beach. A few thought that the likelihood of the sharks attacking on their little stretch of beach was so small, that there was no need to keep people out of the water. The decision weighed heavy on the lifeguards. They really weren’t prepared for such unusual circumstances. The shark problem was unprecedented.
Some of the beaches saw no attacks at all and declared that they were not afraid of a silly shark from overseas. After all, there are always sharks lurking here and there and that didn’t stop them before, so why should it stop them now? Many of these lifeguards had put up some specialized fencing that would likely protect people while they were swimming, but others just decided to take the risk since the odds were so low that their smaller beach would have an attack.
In other places, however, there were shark attacks—most were minor scares with only a bump or bruise, but others were devastating bites—some attacks were deadly. These lifeguards lived with great regret because of their decision to allow people into the water too soon. The alarm had sounded in these places, but the concern was minimized by the officials and beachgoers alike. The lifeguards felt certain they had nothing to fear, but the results were truly tragic.
The shark attacks began to lessen as the sharks began to move further offshore, deeper into the ocean in their seasonal patterns, but there was still an occasional attack in some places. It caused many lifeguards to breathe a sigh of relief, however, when officials began to loosen restrictions and they began to carefully allow people into the ocean again. Various safeguards were put in place to assure the public safety as the people returned to the water. The lifeguards had to take the threat of attack seriously. Conspiracy theories had floated freely in various places, yet it did not make sense to risk lives when danger was clearly present and perhaps even lurking nearby. It seemed best to err on the side of caution in spite of the desire to see people enjoying the ocean.
As people began to return to the water, there was great joy. Some even shouted and cried uncharacteristically, realizing they had taken their time at the beach for granted in the past. Others still wanted to play it safe around the water, but no one blamed them for their lingering concerns. They all eventually returned with a sincere desire to make the most of every moment they had with family and friends. It was such a wonderful time of celebration and reunion.
Some still say the Corona Shark is a myth. Others know by experience that the sharks were real. But one thing the people all agreed upon was that it was good to get back into normal flow of their lives. There is nothing quite like enjoying a time of Sunday fellowship with people you know and love in those gracious, cleansing waves of love the ocean provides.
The lifeguards are still keeping a close eye on the horizon, but they also have a heart of gratitude for the joyful faces they see smiling in the sun. They also wonder how many inland folks are missing out on this peace and love. The water is going to be warm and satisfying this summer.
--Dave Frasure pastors First Baptist Church, South Lebanon, Oh.