I came across a news story not long ago about an extraordinary rescue at sea. A family had gotten caught in a riptide and was unable to make it back to shore. As they drifted further out, the parents frantically screamed for help. Holding their children above the waves, they flailed their free hands, desperately hoping to attract the attention of other beachgoers before it was too late. By God’s providence, someone did see them and rallied strangers to their aid. One by one, hand by hand, men and women formed a human chain—eighty people long!—to save this family’s life.

As I thought about that story, I realized how much it embodies Jesus’ desire for us as fellow believers. When we’re struggling—when life has us twisting and turning in tumultuous waves—we’re not meant to keep going at it alone.

We need to call out to others for help.

And when things are going well—when life is calm and smooth sailing—we’re also not meant to remain alone. In these times, we’re called to keep our eyes open, to look outside ourselves to others who might be hurting or in need.

Jesus modeled both of these perspectives for us. On the Mount of Olives, when He knew His death was near, He poured out his hurting heart to Peter, James, and John. He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38, NIV). And before this moment, when Jesus was teaching and preaching throughout the region of Galilee, He always kept His focus outward. He sought out those who needed help, whether it be healing a blind man, offering dignity to a Samaritan woman, or feeding five thousand people with two fish and a few loaves of bread (see John 4:1-26, John 9:1-12, and Mark 6:30-44).

Jesus chose community, and we can too.

So, whatever season you find yourself in today—whether safely on shore or struggling to swim in a riptide of difficult circumstances—choose to follow Jesus’ example. Reach out to Him first, but then, let Him give you the courage to reach out to those around you too.

*Originally published by The Joyful Life Magazine.