Jumping into the deep waters of your faith

Several years ago, my husband and I went snorkeling in Belize. The boat took a group of us way out into the sparkling, glittering turquoise water. No land to be seen in any direction. Nothing but a couple of buoys. And lots (and lots and lots) of water.

Well, I’m not much of a swimmer. But I had a life jacket and had convinced myself I could do this.

Until it was time to get out of the boat. Everyone else jumped in. My husband was swimming around, minus a life jacket, diving down to look at coral and coming back up, having a blast. And I was still stuck on the side of the boat. I couldn’t do it. It was too hard, and I was paralyzed.

Our guide got back into the boat with me and talked to me. He sat beside me on the edge. He held my hand. And eventually we jumped—together.

As my friend Peggy taught last weekend at a women’s conference, Ezekiel is led into progressively deeper waters in chapter 47. I, too, started in the shallow waters of faith. There were moments of fear, but the water rose slowly and I acclimated. Lately, as I’m maturing in my faith, as I seek to go deeper and become more discerning, I have realized I’m swimming in deep, endless waters—and I confess, I am afraid.

But when God takes us into those waters, we don’t go alone. He grabs our hands and jumps along with us.

God is showing me that the reason I feel tired and scared and unsettled is because I’m not trusting Him to hold onto me. To lie back and float, to give in, to yield. Instead, I’m frantically treading water. Gasping for breath. Using every ounce of power in my muscles simply to stay afloat. I’ve let my imagination take over—what horrendous creatures lurk below the surface? What if the floatation device fails?

But that day in Belize, I learned a lesson. Sure, it’s hard to take that initial leap.To relax and move on the surface of the water, letting the floatation device do its job. And it’s frightening to put your face into the water. It’s challenging to convince your brain that you will still be able to breathe. To trust the plastic mask to protect your eyes so that you can open them without them stinging or burning.

Because once we’ve leapt and taken a deep breath and let go of our trepidation, we get to open our eyes to look into the depths. Witness the mysteries. Occasionally, we may be startled by the sights, but for the most part, when we gaze into the deep, we see unfathomable beauty. Discover new things. Observe the nuances and intricate shapes and breathtaking forms of life and impossibly vivid colors.

We experience wonder.

We are humbled by the enormity of all that we see, the things we didn’t know even existed. And we enter into a place of awe of the God who creates such beauty.

And that is when it happens. We stop struggling to remain afloat by our own power. We stop kicking. We start to trust that when we breathe in, the air will come—full of life, free of danger. We let God cradle us, and we allow ourselves to float on the gentle waves of His love.

One Response to “Jumping into the deep waters of your faith”

  1. susan says:

    I could sure identify with your fear about the water; I can’t swim, and I’ve tried and tried to learn, but just can’t (I’m beginning to understand some of the physical reasons for this) and it makes me nervous about being on boats, never mind getting into the water. You have given me another way to look at my spiritual fear issues now. Because drowning, especially with God holding my hand, is not even a possibility. Fear is a funny thing – there may be a good “reason” for why it begins, but it grows larger than the reason. While I can enjoy the world without swimming, fear has stolen much of my enjoyment and pleasure in God, and that needs to stop. Thank you for writing about this.

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