In the previous blog post, I wrote part one of a series on the Foundation for Church Unity. I am still writing the second part of the subject but it isn’t finished yet. But I did run across a story that was impactful with a great deal of meaning.

During times that we may feel we are drowning, we never know how God may use us to lift someone else up. It may just save our own life…


In Guideposts magazine Donald Vairin of Oceanside, California, told of serving as a young hospital corpsman in the invasion of Guam during World War II. Suddenly his boat came to a grinding halt. They had hit a coral reef, and the commanding officer ordered everyone off the ship.

Donald jumped into the ocean and sank like a rock, his carbine rifle, medical pack, canteen, and boots dragging him down. He forced himself to the surface, gasping for air, only to sink again. He tried to pull off his boots, but the effort exhausted him, and he suddenly realized he wasn’t going to make it.

Just then he saw a man thrashing in the water next to him, and in desperation, he clutched onto him. That proved enough to hold him up and get him to the reef where he was picked up by a rescue boat. But Donald felt so guilty about grabbing the drowning man to save himself that he never told anyone what had happened.

About six months later, on shore leave in San Francisco, he stopped in a restaurant. A sailor in uniform waved him over to sit with him, and as he did so he announced to his friends, “This is my buddy. He saved my life.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Donald.

“Don’t you remember,” said the man. “We were in the water together at Guam. You grabbed on to me. I was going down, and you held me up.”*

Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., pp. 261–262). Thomas Nelson Publishers.



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