Monday, February 20, 2012

Swimming Lessons

“Because anyone who wants to come to God has to believe that they can jump, and he will catch them.  He won’t let them drown.  He will reward their efforts.” (Hebrews 11:6 RSV)

By all accounts it has been a very mild Chicago winter.  With that said, I am ready for it to be over.  I was outside with my dad the other night grilling and we both agreed how great summer is in Chicago, and how ready we were for it to get here.  I love all things summer.  I love warm weather, cook outs, outdoor activities, and the pool. 

I really love the pool.

Maybe it’s because my dad was a swimmer.  Others suggest it is because I am part fish.  Anyone who knows me will affirm how much I love to swim.  Spending winters in Chicago put a damper on that. 

Now, while it’s not the same, there are these things they invented called indoor pools.  While they aren’t the same, they help addicts like myself get through the long winters.

A few weeks ago when I was in Atlanta for my friend’s wedding, I found myself in the hotel pool playing around with all of his cousins.  All under the age of 6, and less than 70 lbs, more importantly, I made some instant friends as I tossed and flipped kids through the air while happy parents sat on the deck happy it wasn’t them getting splashed or dunked under water.

I laughed as I left for the afternoon when 3 different parents half jokingly, but fully seriously said, “Same time tomorrow!”

The next day I was unable to get to the pool.  I had to get a workout in before all of the wedding festivities.  The pool was right next to the workout area (I refuse to call it a gym) and I could look into the poor Dad that took my place.  This time it was him getting dragged under and asked to launch kids as far as he possibly could. 

Meanwhile, on one of the sides of the pool, another Dad was working with his young kids, trying to get him to jump into the pool.  You’ve seen it before, right?  Dad is about 2 feet away begging his son to jump to him.  The boy reaches, and reaches, and reaches some more. 

I think that my relationship with God mirrors this.

So often I find myself standing at the edge.  I reach and I reach and I reach.  All I want God to do is grab me and place me somewhere safe.

But he doesn’t do that.

It would rob me of the possible joy.

I think he stands there, arms wide open and invites me into his arms.  Not unlike Peter I see the arms.  I see the water.





And ultimately the choice is up to me.  The amount of trust required this time might be more than in the past.  Dad might be standing a bit farther from the ledge than last time.  He wants to increase my trust, but it doesn’t come without risk.  He hasn’t let me drown to this point, but I haven’t jumped this far yet. 

You know exactly what I am talking about.  What part of the deep end is God asking us to dive into?





It is something, isn’t it?

For this young kid it’s literally about jumping into the pool.  He is almost crying he wants his dad to just reach out and grab him.

But Dad is relentless.

His boy is going to have to jump.

As I watch the young boy finally give in and jump towards Dad, he splashes the water and Dad is right there to grab him.  I see a huge smile on his face and echoes of laughter – both from father and son.

But similarly to our relationship with God, this father and son only enjoy the moment for a second before Dad props his son back up on the ledge.

This time however, not unlike our father, Dad takes a step back. His boy is going to have to grow his faith in him; only to find more joy after the leap.

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