The dark water paths from the beach are riptides. There is some new science regarding surviving riptides. This page utilizes the riptide science as a parable for ministry.
Through the years of ministry I have seen seasons and cyclical patterns of ministry/spiritual growth and erosion. I find an interesting parable in what is called a "riptide." It is an area of beach where undercurrents have organized and will drag anything in it's path out to sea. There is no way to effectively swim against the current. Ironically recent studies have shown that if you resist the temptation to fight the current, but rather trust that the current will circle you back toward the shore, odds are much better that you will survive. Your options are to swim up or down shore, or wait it out to drift you back. Similarly, there are times when Satan organizes his influences against us. We must recognize his schemes, resist his subtle yet powerful presence and trust/swim toward God with all of our strength or watch Him carry us through. The strange thing is that it feels more dangerous to do the right thing than to fearfully fight for your life. Face the struggle, name the sin, lean on His grace and find friends that will stand with you and against any hint of spiritual rebellion they see creep in. In the words of James, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7