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The Times
  • Cal Lord: God’s will intervened prior to Penguin Plunge

  • What was I thinking? I stood on the beach with well over a hundred people. I was wearing my sweatshirt, sneakers and jogging pants. I was ready to go, but I looked totally out of place as I geared up for the seventh annual Penguin Plunge.

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  • What was I thinking? I stood on the beach with well over a hundred people. I was wearing my sweatshirt, sneakers and jogging pants. I was ready to go, but I looked totally out of place as I geared up for the seventh annual Penguin Plunge.
    Everyone else was standing on the shore in bikinis, or in colorful T-shirts and shorts, all getting ready to jump into the swirling waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They were jumping up and down in anticipation of the plunge or goading each other as they waited for the countdown to begin. Even members of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club were there sporting shorts, leather jackets and swim trunks.
    The temperature outside was reasonable for Jan. 1. The thermometer read 41 degrees. It was the wind and blowing snow that made it seem much colder. A giant penguin walked back and forth slapping high-fives and encouraging the group to make the event a smashing success. I looked at one girl in a pink bathing suit who had goosebumps on top of goosebumps.
    That’s when I realized how happy I was to be a spectator instead of a participant. It was just too crazy and I was a little too old for it. Maybe my friends, and the members of the congregation, had actually been right. After all, they had pledged their money for me NOT to take the plunge.
    That’s right. I raised almost $900 for Westerly’s WARM Shelter from people who looked at me and said, “You shouldn’t be jumping into that water.” I was a little disappointed at first, but looking back on it now, I realize it was the voice of God speaking to me.
    Have you ever heard the voice of God? Many of us expect it to come in a burning-bush experience or a booming voice from heaven. Yet God often speaks to us in people we see every day. God puts it on their hearts to say or do something that sends a blessing our way.
    This week, I wanted to help the WARM Shelter by taking the plunge. God said no, but then he touched the hearts of my friends to make a miracle happen. I got to be a part of a fun event and help God’s cause, but I was kept safe behind the line. I pray you will pause to hear God’s voice in whatever you are called to do this year. Whether it is to plunge into something or to hold off and support others, I pray you will be blessed, even as I was blessed.
    Happy New Year! See you in church.
    The Rev. Cal Lord is a Norwich resident and serves as pastor at Central Baptist Church of Westerly. Reach him at calstigers@gmail.com.
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