Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Deep End (03/06/14)
TITLE: Step Out of the Boat?
By Sandra Hartman
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I sat in my little rowboat, tied to the dock, looking out over the peaceful lake. The view from here is inspiring, The sun is warm and the lake is calm. Except for the deep end which always seems to be troubled water. I never venture out there because—
First of all I don’t know how to row the boat
Secondly – I can’t swim.
Thirdly—I’ve always feared the ‘deep end.’ When I was a child my grandfather, wise man that he was, told me there were sharks in the ‘deep end.’ The fact that I sit here today is a tribute to this irrational fear he stirred in my childish imagination.
In reality I’m sitting here on my couch on a cold January day filled with fear and dread; some rational and some irrational. I want to sit here on my comfortable end of the couch and never leave it again. It is my zone of safety. I’m reading the Bible and copiously recording verses to help me get through this season of fear.
I’m finding comfort; but then I begin to sense a small whisper deep in my heart. “You must row out to the ‘deep end’ and get out of the boat.”
“What??!! Surely not! Why would God even think of asking me to do such a thing?
I battle with this for several days, trying to make sure it’s God’s voice I hear. Soon it becomes evident that this is His clear instruction to me.” You must row out to the ‘deep end’ and get out of the boat.”
“Hmmmmm, Lord, there are just two problems with that—maybe three.
“First I don’t know how to row the boat.”
‘I’ll teach you,” He replies.
“Wellllll, I can’t swim.”
“I’ll hold you up.” He promises.
Hmmmmm, “There are sharks in the ‘deep end.” I’m grasping at straws now.
‘They can’t harm you,” He assures me.
It was a few weeks later when God laid a certain lady on my heart. One day He whispered, “Start a Bible study with her and a couple of her friends.”
I was initially excited at the idea; but deep down inside fear was building that this was the moment when my little boat would have to leave the comfortable harbor. I was no way ready for that. So imagine my surprise, and distress, when these ladies were delighted to attend a Bible study.
“So here I go Lord. Remember you promised to help me row the boat.”
This Bible study actually accomplished something different than I expected; but it was a stepping stone to another opportunity to begin a Bible study at my friend’s house.
We planned our “Bible Tea.” My friend would cook and I would present the Bible study. The idea was exciting but when I saw the list of names of ladies I didn’t know I cried out in my heart “Lord I can’t swim!”
He answered—“I’ll hold you up.”
It was soon after we began this study that my husband suffered a major medical crisis.
There were sharks in the water after all!
He assured me, “They won’t harm you.”
God’s grace was sufficient for us and carried us through this difficult time.
Then God whispered to me—“Why don’t you start a Ladies Bible study at your home for the ladies in your church.
By this time I’d become familiar with the ‘deep end’ and it was no longer a deep and mysterious and frightful place because I could feel God’s presence there encompassing me with His love. In fact the safest place I could be was in His will.
This last Bible study had some amazing and interesting results; one of which was a reuniting of a mother and daughter after many years apart. This study had 13 in attendance and continued for four years.
I’m going on seven years teaching the Bible study at my friend’s home. We have 14 ladies of different faiths.
My friend prepares a wonderful ‘brunch’ with flavorful teas and then we have an hour’s study.
I’m so glad I listened to God and got up off my couch and moved through the fear, I’m glad I got out of my boat of comfort and plunged into the ‘deep end’ of the lake.
Our strength may be small and our ability questionable but God is never limited by that. The only limits we can put on Him is to say “No.”
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