Toes barely touching the water I look out at the horizon. The mountains cast their shadows deep into the lake; a cloudy grey sky threatens rain. We link arms, my brother and I. Barefoot, we stand on the beach. A bond about to be forged in the deep, cold water; the miles we are about to travel. We gaze in silent surrender to that distant place. Knowing, and yet not knowing, what lies before us.
Adrift in the moment we lose track of time. A cannon blares and we dive. A mass of bodies pierces the stillness of the once calm lake. A thundering storm erupts beneath the water and we are separated. Calm, silent surrender is immediately overtaken by panic and fear. Alone. Kicking, thrashing, drowning. It’s happening. I’m going to die. I roll onto my back coughing water out of my lungs and stare fixedly at the clouded sky. As if looking directly into the Father’s eyes I cry out: “Lord, where are you? Please. Help.”
An army of arms closing behind me, I turn quickly and begin my stroke. Stay calm. One, two, three, breathe. One, two, breathe. Rhythm, timing, uninterrupted in prayer: “Lord, go before me. Make a way.”
Much of life can feel like drowning. Arms flailing, legs kicking, we struggle to get our head above water. Pushed and pulled down by others trying to get by, ahead. We coach ourselves: one, two, three, breathe. One, two, breathe…
So many times we’re scared to leave the safety of the shore.
Or we stay in the comfort of the shallows.
But we’re called to go deep.
We believe if we train hard enough or practice long enough, we will succeed on our own. That hours spent in the pool will help us when we face open water.
But when the water gets deep and our feet no longer touch, we realize that our strength is not enough. Our weakness becomes frighteningly real as we face the unforgiving depths of the darkness.
For me, nothing captures the faithfulness of God like my swim on Ironman morning. People ask: what was it like? I pause because there’s no way to describe it without sharing the intimate presence of a faithful Father.
Amongst thousands of bodies equally frightened and terrified of drowning; He went before me. He made a way.
In that moment I realized we are companions of fear, each of us afraid to unclench our fist and surrender to the One who knows the depth of our soul. Who hears the desperate cries of our heart. We know this and yet we struggle to believe it is true.
And we’re faced with the paradox that we cannot fully rest in Him if we don’t follow Him into deep water.
I’ve always been afraid of a shallow life. Yet too often fear of depths still scares me enough to stay on the shore.
But I’m tired of shallow living. Finished with the safety on the shoreline. If you’re ready I’ll swim with you in open water, past the boundary into the depths of our fear. Because I believe He will meet us there.
Meet us where we can no longer rely on our own understanding or strength. Where we must believe in something bigger and greater than ourselves. When we realize He is all we need. He is all we’ve ever needed.
Where in your life are you afraid to follow God into deep water? What makes you believe He won’t make a way?
Come with me.
Toes in the water, eyes on the horizon.
Dive. He’s waiting.