So here are three spiritual truths I learned in swimming class.
1. Don’t panic.
When my swim teacher made me jump into the deep end of the pool for the first time, I did what came natural: I panicked. Suddenly the concrete beneath my feet was gone. I couldn’t touch the bottom of the pool no matter how hard I stretched my toes. Surely I was a goner as soon as gravity took effect.
But gravity isn’t the only force at work in the pool. A pool also has water that pushes up. If the density of the object (me) is less than the density of the water, I will float. The deep water pushed me up and kept me mostly at the surface of the pool.
If I panic and curl up into a ball though, the entire mass of my body is spread out over a small surface. The water can’t keep me afloat. What will save me is to lie on my back and make my body as big as possible. The total mass of my body is then spread out over a larger area of water. The amount of water underneath each of my body parts is enough to keep me afloat.
Just like the best thing to do in the swimming pool is trust the water, so the best thing to do in life is to trust Jesus. Jesus is the living water beneath me; he will keep me afloat.
2. The deeper the water, the better I float.
Have you noticed that floating in three feet of water is much harder than floating in six feet? You have to really concentrate to keep your derrière from sinking when you’re in the shallow end.
But when you’re in the deep end, all you have to do is lean back and relax. It’s effortless, because of all that water underneath you, keeping you up.
That’s the second spiritual lesson I learned in swimming class. The deeper the water, the better I float.
In life, we have crises and trials. We have worries and troubles. We can try to float in shallow faith but we’ll often find our bottoms sinking and pulling us down. When we rely on Jesus; when we surrender the situation and our part in it to Him, our faith deepens. We are able to rest in Jesus’ arms as He holds us up and shows how good it is to be in the deep end with Him.
3. Jump In.
I’m one of those wimps who stands at the edge of the pool, thinking about finding a nice lounge chair instead. I usually head for the steps and take them one at a time, shrieking softly with each step as if the generally-warm water were somehow turning my limbs blue. Once in the water, I adjust quite quickly. But I recognize that I’ve lost time I could have spent having fun.
I love watching those brave souls march over to the edge of the pool, pinch their noses and jump. No hesitation. They just jump. And start having fun immediately.
Faith is like that. Non-believers who are “thinking” about this Christ thing, often want all the answers to all their questions before jumping in and believing. They think if they “know” everything, only then can they believe. That’s not a dig. God made us to wonder and to want answers.
But faith isn’t about knowing. First you have faith and then your faith grows. You have to just jump in and believe and then ask God to give you whatever answers He feels you are ready to understand.
And He will answer them. As He wishes. When He wants. In His timing. And to the degree that you are able to understand. That might take a while. But meanwhile, you’ll be in the pool with Him. Being blessed and feeling loved.
Yep, swim class can teach us a lot about faith. And we don’t have to worry about sunburned skin, chlorine-smelling towels or how we look in last year’s bathing suit. How awesome is that!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for this world and the ordered laws of science that you created. Thank you for enabling us to understand how a few of these laws operate. Help us, Jesus, when we hesitate to jump into the water with you. Remind us that you are there to catch us and keep us afloat in your love and care. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Describe your first time in the deep end of the pool.