Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Deep End (03/06/14)
TITLE: Just Jump
By Joan Martin
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Bending her knees on the count of three and throwing her arms behind her, she determined she would jump this time. Her previously failed attempts only increased her fears and hesitation. Five seconds passed, then ten, then twenty. Just jump! The encouraging words of her father that were echoing in her head made it seem so simple. But, she couldn’t abandon her fears. Her feet, solidly glued to the end of the board, were constrained by her will that was bound up in unwelcome emotions. Even her Daddy’s precipitous promise of a one-hundred dollar reward wasn’t compelling enough to embolden the faint-hearted six-year-old.
Her little feet made their way back to the ladder as she unwillingly gave in to her fear. It was an obvious battle of faith and courage versus comfort and ease. She knew very well the outcome she longed for, but she needed the extra nudge that couldn’t come from inside. Soon, her mother was sent up to be that gentle, unpredictable little push. The anxious pair walked the treacherous, narrow path to the end of the board, which was now dipping closer to the water with the added weight. On the count of three, the conflicted daughter gave in to frustration and tears, instead of complete surrender to her father’s wishes. The thoughts of the reward were defeating. She knew she was undeserving – and then, splash! She was down under, holding her breath, and kicking wildly! The surface displayed a million erupting bubbles rising from below – and then waiting, waiting – and suddenly breaking through the surface popped a big-eyed, joyously unrestrained little swimmer. Then, with the gentle, comforting push of her daddy’s hand, she paddled safely back to the side of the pool. Once her mouth was clear of the water, the first thing she sputtered out was, “I want to do it, again!” And she did – fifty-two more times!
We often are fearful of unknown waters, of going deeper in our walk with God, learning to trust Him without hesitation or limitations. Life is hard when it feels as though there is no bottom beneath our feet, nothing concrete to trust in, and only waves to overwhelm and drown us. But our Father is in the water, holding out His hands, understanding our fears, yet patiently waiting for us to jump in, fully trusting in Him. He knows that when we allow our faith to conquer our fears, we will only increase our faith in Him, and we will be ever more willing to jump again and again into deep, unknown waters. And, when we fail to find the courage and strength within ourselves, the Holy Spirit is there to gently nudge us to full surrender, deeper faith, and new ventures in our walk with God.
It is so much more comfortable and familiar to stay in the shallow water, where our feet are planted on solid ground and our heads are above the water, where there is no need of faith, no reason to fear. We can choose to stay there, or we can venture out to where God is calling us, calling us to go deeper with Him and to trust Him without limitations. Staying with the familiar stunts our growth and lacks the excitement of exploring new territories and discovering new revelations. How much better it is to jump into the unknown and allow God to increase our faith in Him!
The simple faith of the child released by a gentle nudge, reminds us to call upon the Spirit when fears abound, and to brave the unknown waters of life, with our eyes fixed on the One to whom we belong. We are His. He is there for us. We can trust Him.
Father, take me deeper. Make my faith stronger. Help me trust in You, no limitations. I am Yours.
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