For those of you who don't know, I recently got a job teaching swim lessons at my local YMCA. I usually work with the little ones, the preschoolers.
Even though those kids are the ones who are often afraid of the water and nervous about new strokes or activities, I still love working with them. The reason? I was the exact same way. I remember being three and four and five and never wanting to jump in the water, except in one situation.
The only time I wanted to jump in was when my dad was there to catch me. I trusted that he would hold on to me when I jumped into that big scary mass of water.
Hmm.... trusting in a father.... anyone else see a spiritual parallel here?
The truth is, God is just like my dad in the pool, always ready to catch us when we fall, or when we jump in. Sometimes though, we forget that He really will catch us, and we stay on the side of the pool, afraid. Sometimes, when God asks us to do something big or hard, what holds us back is the fear of failure.
Because what if we jump in and we forget how to swim? What if he drops us? Or what if the pool is a lot deeper than it looks?
Fears aren't something that can be brushed off as nonsense. A lot of times, they are real and important. But the truth is, we serve a real, big, amazing God who is stronger and more powerful than all our doubts and worries.
One of the little girls in one of my classes always reminds me while we're swimming, saying, "Don't let me go." Aren't we blessed that we never need to say this to our heavenly Father? We even sing songs about how he "never lets go."
Those of us who are afraid to jump in can trust that our God will always be there to support us, even when it seems like we're falling.
But what about the other type? Those who jump in and then see how scary the pool is. The ones who jump into something and then have second doubts. To me, this is so much like Peter walking on the water to Jesus.
During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them, "Take courage, it is I; don't be afraid.
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
This is so easy for me to fall into. I can praise God and trust in him when everything is going great, but once the going gets rough, it is so easy to cry out, "Where are you, God?" when he has been there alongside me the whole time.
This is can be seen in the little swimmers too. They want to strike out on their own, but once they get tired or start sinking, they immediately reach out for someone to hold onto. And every time, their teacher will catch them and help them keep going. Just like God catches us.