The words deep-end immediately conjured up an intense memory for me. But as I wrote about a remote childhood experience at the pool, God reminded me of another day and time. Both have had life-long influence.
There I was climbing the ladder of the high diving board. Excitement welled inside, as one by one those in front of me ran to the edge, jumped and disappeared into the abyss, only to reappear in a second, laughing and splashing. It looked exhilarating and I wanted to be part of it. Being a new swimmer, I hesitated. My stomach churned, but with a fresh wind of confidence, I bolted to the edge and took a flying leap into the deep water.
There was no exhilaration as fear overtook the situation. I went under and flailed. I was spinning out of control and couldn’t tell which way was up! This was totally different than I expected. All the other kids popped up like a jack-in-the-box. I was trapped, lid closed, no oxygen!
Finally my head broke through the water’s surface and I was able to dog-paddle to a corner of the pool. My heart pounded as I gasped to breathe. I looked around, everyone was still laughing and splashing as if nothing happened. I could have drowned and no one noticed!
At 11 years old, I had no conscious thoughts of evading water hereafter. But, thus began a lifetime fear.
Shunning water’s deep end for the past 40 years hasn’t been too difficult. At the beach, I go in only up to my knees. I don’t ride jet-skis or boogey boards and glue myself to the lounger for ‘sun bathing!’ Most recently I remained in the boat as my husband dove into crystal clear water for snorkeling.
When panic arises; I avoid water.
On a different day, many years later, I was not near water but the feeling was the same. I had made the profession of faith in Jesus Christ just a few short months prior. God had opened my eyes and heart to His truth. God sent His one and only son to die for my sins and He wanted a personal relationship with me! This was exciting and freeing. Living for Jesus is the only way! I believed and wanted everyone else to know this truth too!
I was back home for a summer visit, anxious to tell my own family the Good News! Mom’s house was filled with family and friends. I was nervous, but didn’t hesitate when I had the first chance to speak up. I dove in.
“Hey, did you know that Christ died for YOU? We are all sinners and we need Jesus as our Savior. He is the only way to God.” All the things I knew as truth, I told in a most eager way.
My brother stopped me in my tracks. “You don’t know anything about God.”
I began to stumble, “Uh yeah, I do, Jesus died and rose from the dead. . .uh.”
“Who do you think you are? You can’t tell me anything about God.”
“But, it’s true, Jesus is the way. When we believe. . .” my voice now fading.
“Don’t ever tell ME how to live my life!”
I was flailing and my mind was spinning. My heart pounded and I felt the need to gasp for air, so I shut up!
Conversations continued as if nothing happened. I was not in water but I felt as if I could have drowned and no one noticed.
On that day, I did not make a conscious decision to not spread the Good News. I did not lose my desire to either. But for the past 20 years when close to conversing about Jesus with someone and panic arises, I stifle myself.
Most recently, a kind lady told me all about Jesus.
“I know Jesus! I love Jesus! He saved my life! He’s my savior too!” Silently wishing I exclaimed it first.
My heart breaks, knowing that as a Christian the great commission is to tell others about Jesus. In tears, I have asked God’s forgiveness over and over. I pray for a spirit of confidence to be able to dive into the deep where my faith is alive and my obedience is proved. God will not let me drown, just as He didn’t that day in the pool.
For today my fingers do the talking as I write about Jesus’ awesome grace, love and truth.
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