A Sabbatical Journey #2 – Sweatin’ or Swimmin’

There I sat in the boat with my feet in the water while my wife, sisters-in-law, and their husbands were swimming in the lake on a blistering hot summer day!  Why wasn’t I in the water, you ask?  Well, due to what I considered almost drowning in a lake when I was a first-grader and being pushed into the 12 foot end by the swim instructor on the very first day of lessons when I was a third-grader, I have always had a fear of water.  I since have learned to swim, and that only in a pool, usually staying in water that is not over six feet, and once-in-awhile venturing off the diving board . . . but stretching way out in my dive so I land near the more shallow water.  Furthermore, I have never swam in a lake over-my-head and the thought of being in water anywhere from 34 to 164 feet deep . . . well, let’s just sit on the edge of the boat and be humiliated.  It’s okay; that’s what fear will do to you.

After a while, everyone climbed back on board and shared a delicious lunch.  Since the day was still young, another ride in the speedboat took us to a different location for the second exhilarating dip.  And . . . there I sat watching them enjoy being cooled off while gallons of sweat poured off my brow. I was missing out on so much.  I needed to get into the water!

My fear had eclipsed all sound reasoning, facts, and fun.  You see, I was wearing something each time I sat on the edge of boat that would keep me from drowning—a life jacket!  As I watched my family floating in the water, they were secure in that which surrounded them. Finally, I eased off the side of the boat and into the water, and with that, drowning my fears. Wow, how refreshing!

As I pondered this episode, I was reminded of how foolish to be fearful about anything when the Word of God commands and assures us, “Fear not.” The Word of God is our life preserver.  We are secure in and surrounded with the promises of God.  How interesting that we look at Peter with a bit of disdain for taking his eyes off the Lord, but remember, he is the ONLY one who got out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-33). God has much for us to enjoy, to learn, and to experience if we will only trust in His Word, His life-preserver, and not live by our human rationalization (Proverbs 3:5-7).

Also, my family who loves and cares for me were saying, “Jump in.  You won’t drown.  You are wearing a life-jacket.”  How often other believers who care for us try to assure us with the Word of God (Ephesians 4:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:11), but we won’t listen to their caring admonition and encouragement due to our fears.  We are drowning in those fears.

So, you can either sit on the edge of boat watching other believers live in joy and peace no matter how deep the water is or dive in and join them!  Remember, underneath you are the everlasting arms of God.  You can trust Him with your life all the time.  By the way, if you don’t believe it, ask Peter. . . and a multiplied host of other believers.  Also, I am more than ready to dive in to the lake the next time!

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling (Psalm 46:1-3).

Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 41:10a).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

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