Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Deep End (03/06/14)
TITLE: Launched into the deep
By Gail Raynor
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If you’ve ever lived on an island, you know that its exquisiteness is often matched only by its eccentricities. Islanders are very interesting people. Whether you lived in Victoria Island, Devil's Island or Bermuda, you had experiences that would probably seem weird to mainlanders. Non-islanders wonder if you have electricity or what language you speak. Someone even asked me if I knew what M&M’s were! One thing everyone knows about islands is that they are surrounded by lots of water. I’ve never understood island natives who are non-swimmers. I understand having a healthy fear of water, but this seems like more of a reason to learn how to swim, not one to avoid it. When we lived in Bermuda, I was determined that my entire family would be strong swimmers.
One Saturday, we borrowed a friend’s boat and sailed until we found ourselves miles away from Bermuda's shores. We couldn't see anything except for water and sky. We stopped the boat and everyone jumped into the ocean. Everyone except for my 6 year old daughter. She loved swimming and could swim reasonably well, but stayed firmly planted on the vessel this time. She couldn't see the bottom and was afraid there would be sharks in the water. Both of her fears were completely founded on fact.
Everyone tried to convince her to join us in the water but she refused every manipulative plea we threw her way. My husband climbed into the boat, put his arms around her as if to say, “It’s ok. You don’t have to swim if you don’t want.” Instead, my husband picked up our 6 year old daughter and launched her out into the deep end of the Atlantic Ocean. (This is one of those Bermudian eccentricities I mentioned earlier on). Who needs the YMCA when this method of swim instruction works every time? He only threw her about 3 feet away from the boat, but I imagine it felt like 3 miles to her. I began to swim to her but my husband motioned for me to stop. When she reached me, she held me like she’d never let go. He came and pried her off me.
"Wasn't that fun sweetie?" he asked. Amid a stream of tears, she protested, "Put me back on the boat Daddy!" Not one to waste a teaching moment, he said if she wanted to get back on the boat, she would have to swim there. She held on tighter. He let go and gave her a little push in the direction of the boat. She climbed back into the boat, all the while doubting his love for her. She must have cried for 30 minutes straight.
A year passed and we signed her up for swim camp. Each morning, the kids boarded a ferry for White’s Island where they would spend all day in the water. When I picked her up that first day, she told me she and her cousin jumped off the dock into the ocean and she loved it! She couldn’t wait to go back. A lot had changed in a year. In her 7 year old wisdom, she told me that it was fun having someone else to jump in with. She remembered that when Daddy threw her in last year, she didn’t sink. He jumped right in after her. She loved the water so much she now wanted to become a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld.
When Jesus told His disciples to launch out into the deep, He was setting them up for major blessings. They didn’t understand His methods, but they followed anyway. Through this display of power, Peter had revelation of Jesus as Lord and his life would be changed. When He does this in our lives we need not sit on the boat and cry, doubting The Father’s love for us. Jesus will lead us into deep places, but He will never leave us there to drown. In fact, there will be a blessing waiting for us on the other side. There will be times where we are unsure of our own ability, but thankfully we can rely completely on God’s ability. He is not only our Anchor, but He is also our safety net. Had my daughter begun to sink that day, her father would have caught her. When we launch out into the deep, we not only meet Jesus, but we find our purpose.
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