Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Deep End (03/06/14)
TITLE: The Best Life-Jacket
By Richard Hicks
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I gradually learned lessons of faith in this area when I was about 10 years old. One day my mom, step dad, brother and sister walked out on this long wooden dock. My step dad came right up behind me and threw me into the lake! I panicked in that second cause my feet were not touching the bottom.
I am sure I was thinking, “Oh, God save me from drowning!”
I was flapping around like a fish while the rest of the family ‘cheered’ me on using my nickname they shouted, “Swim Bubba swim!”
I began splashing my arms in the waters and before I knew it, I was back in the shallow end of the water again. I guess I was ‘dog paddling’ or something-I don’t really remember because I was in so much shock from suddenly being surrounded by deep waters. Boy was I ever mad at my step dad.
I sat down on the bank crying, “I am not getting back in the water!”
My mom commented, “That is how his dad taught him how to swim.” My mom and sister and I sat there and watched as He did the same thing to my little brother.
Now, I am not nearly as afraid of deep water. I can dive and even swim with fish in the water, and not be afraid. Boats rides are even enjoyable for me now, however; when in the water my inner-child still doesn't let me get too far from the bank when swimming.
As Christians, why would we want to dabble in the 'shallow end' and not desire all that God has for us? Why should we merely want to sing a few hymns, hear a sermon and go home, not even enjoying an authentic experience with Jesus Christ? To learn how to ‘swim in life’ we are going to have to be willing to get out there in the deep end with God becoming teachable like little children. Sometimes I can be pretty stubborn and have to learn things the hard way. Yet, when I allow Him to, God will prepare me and strengthen me so I can become an expert swimmer for Him.
Will we jump in all the way and trust that Jesus wants the very best for us? Or are we afraid of God, along with His plans to take us into a deeper truth? God will give us the strength as we need it, not before or after but exactly at the perfect time for He is an on-time God. But when we begin to sense His depths we will be in His presence even more for He is the Deep End!
I have learned that I need to cling tightly to my Lord out in the deep waters of life. It is easy and I have fallen prey many times in the past basing my faith on people; it can be especially tempting to look to one’s preacher, deacon or elders. That became a temptation for me. I had to learn that they have sin and mess up just as much as everyone else. There was a time period where I was often hurt by church leaders; however allowing God to hold me and nurture me through His comforting word taught me the power of forgiveness. The forgiveness my Lord offered to me—when I extended it to others became like a life-jacket out there in the deep end of my circumstances.
Father, every day we walk out into the unknown not sure of what is going to happen. We ask you to be with us and wrap Your loving arms around us. You are our protector, even in the depths. When we are tired; give us Your strength to hang on to Your hope and make us glad, In Jesus name, Amen. Psalms 46:1-4 (NKJV)
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