“The Savior’s Saving Hand,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 78–79
One summer while I was growing up in Arkansas, my neighbors invited me to join them for a couple days of camping, fishing, and swimming at a large reservoir near Sardis, Mississippi. We spent several days enjoying all sorts of outside activities.
On our last day we were getting our final swim in before heading home. As my friends and I were throwing a beach ball back and forth, the ball sailed over my head and landed a few feet beyond me. The wind immediately started blowing the ball away from me along the top of the water. I started after it, but the wind kept blowing the ball just beyond my reach. In a short time I had reached the markers that bordered the shallow swimming area. The ball had been blown beyond the markers toward the main body of the reservoir.
As I approached the markers, I gave little thought to swimming beyond them. The ball was not that far in front of me, and I was sure I could catch it. After all, I had completed a lifesaving course and proudly wore the course emblem on my swimming trunks. I felt comfortable in water and confident that I was strong enough to retrieve the ball.
The wind, however, continued to keep the ball outside my reach. Sometimes I would get so close to it that I could touch it with my fingertips, only to see it sail off again. Finally, a gust blew it far beyond my reach.
I was not aware of how far I had traveled until I stopped to rest. The water seemed much darker and colder than it was in the shallow swimming area. When I looked back toward the shore, I realized that I was close to the middle of the reservoir. I decided to abandon the beach ball and swim back to shore. I was tired and worn out, but I wasn’t worried. I was young and felt that I would be all right.
But as I tried to return to shore, the wind that had assisted the beach ball worked against me. It seemed that no matter how hard I swam, I made little progress. My arms and legs began to burn and ache. I stopped to dog paddle and float, trying to regain my strength.
Then I heard a familiar sound—the sound of a motorboat. I was happy and relieved to soon see a man in a small boat pull up beside me and offer me a ride to shore. My arms and legs were spent. I couldn’t even pull myself into the boat, so I put one arm over the side and hung on while the stranger slowly towed me back to the swimming area. I grabbed one of the markers, let go of the boat, waved a thank-you, and swam to shore.
Fifteen years later I once again found myself in trouble. For a long time I had been swimming in a reservoir of sin. Pursuing a worldly course and seeking after things of little or no value had left me floundering in deep water. My strength was spent, and my hope was failing. The things I had pursued remained just out of my reach, and darkness seemed about to engulf me.
In desperation I cried out to Heavenly Father. Like the man in the boat, the Savior came to my rescue when I needed Him most. Through a latter-day prophet of God, He led me to the Book of Mormon. He led me along the path of repentance and cleansed me of my sins in the waters of baptism. He then placed me on high ground, where I have attempted to stay ever since.