Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: At Water's Edge
By Elizabeth Ingersoll
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Eighteen years later, I sat in my seat near the end of the row, my heart tight with emotion, my throat choking back a sob, and my eyes stinging with tears. I had listened week after week as the pastor told of the importance of a believer’s baptism. I knew God was asking me to do it. But what would people think? What would my mom say? So week after week I resisted. Until I could simply ignore God no longer.
So, that beautiful Sunday afternoon in August, my husband, my children and I drove to the lake after church. We parked at the factory and rode the bus over to the shore. We stepped off the bus into the midst of snow-white tents, their shadows providing a welcome respite from the heat. Long tables stretched underneath them, heavy laden with an abundance of food for the crowd that was gathering.
We walked from tent to tent, looking for a shady spot for my family to settle away from the brutal rays of sun, but all of the seats were taken. A complete stranger greeted us, and sought all over until she found a place in the shade for us, to protect my newborn from the soaring temperatures. What a precious woman she was!
Those being baptized filed into the clubhouse to change and get a white robe to wear in the water. The line to the dressing area was long, but no one seemed to mind. The air was thick with joy and excitement.
Finally, it was time. Time to be obedient to my God, who had called me to come to Him. This time, for real and forever. There may have been nearly one hundred baptized beside me that day, but I felt alone with my God. I watched the others as they were plunged beneath the surface, but the closer I got to the water’s edge, the more I could only see my Jesus.
My heart raced with anticipation. The butterflies in my stomach were in full flight. My turn, at last. My turn to leave something useless, tattered and worn at the bottom of that lake: my worthless, sinful soul. My turn to leave it to drown, and to have it replaced with a glowing, pristine new one, made just for me by my Jesus.
I was surprised at how demanding the walk in the water was. The mud was deep, and my feet felt mired in it. The shallow water offered a surprising resistance, and my legs struggled against it. How much my steps mirrored my life walk with God thus far. Difficult, tiring, moving forward ever so slowly. But I would not stop. This time, I wasn’t alone. My Father was waiting for me, encouraging my every step. I knew that each one was taking me closer to freedom, to what my heart had been longing for. My Lord. El Shaddai.
I was lifted from those waters a new creation in Christ, but will always struggle with my sinful human nature. So now, once again I stand at the water’s edge, stroking a penny lightly with my thumb. I am here again to let go.
The coin in my hand represents the useless, unwanted things in my life that I bring to give up to my God. Things I want to leave at the bottom of the lake. And I will have many pennies in my short life to bring to this shore.
As I toss it in, I can almost feel the cool water rushing over my face, and my burden lightens. I will leave my troubles to drown in the cleansing blood of the Lamb, as my renewed soul emerges from waters again.
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