As an infant in the Lord, I couldn’t fathom the depths of God’s love. Like a new swimmer, I couldn’t dive into that deep end. I couldn’t hold my breath that long. In fact, it seemed that just to stick my head under the water was overwhelming.
I wish the Lord would have given me a spiritual director to train me through those tender years. I floundered in the shallow end. Then I decided to just jump off the deep end, figuring I’d learn or I’d drown. I came very close to drowning. Thankfully the Lord pulled me back to where I could stand up. Slowly, I taught myself to listen to His voice, to trust His instructions, to not panic when my feet left the security of the bottom. And the more I threw myself into practicing to swim, the more I understood my need for Him and His love for me.
One day, I realized I could swim and dive. I got comfortable in the pool for a while, thinking I understood the depths of His love as I touched the twelve foot bottom, until one day I arrived and He told me to follow Him. He led me to the ocean. Its vast and powerful waves, overwhelmed me. Not far out, it was deeper than the pool I’d grown comfortable with. He offered me His hand and led me in, but as the water rose above my waist I got scared and let go. I turned around and was immediately knocked down by the waves.
When I made it to the sandy shore, I collapsed with exhaustion. This wasn’t the calm pool waters. This was something different. This wasn’t something I was going to learn to do easily. This was something that was going to shape me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be shaped. I wasn’t sure finding the depth of God’s love was worth learning to swim beyond the breakers. But I realized, the pool had trained me in the skills I needed- prayer, reading scripture, knowing His voice, trusting Him.
Now God was asking me to follow Him into the real world. It was scary to go out into water where I couldn’t see the bottom and the waves constantly barraged me. But each time I got a little stronger. Each time I was overwhelmed, Jesus would pull me back to the safety of the shore. Day after day, the progress was small but the further out I went the less resistance there was. I grew in endurance and in trust that He wouldn’t let me drown.
I’ve made it past the breakers but now the bottom is no longer touchable. Out here it requires a conservation of energy. I don’t have the freedom to go back to the shallow end and rest. When I tire, I have to go back to the shore. Each day, I have to face the waves to get out beyond them. They are no less powerful but I’ve grown stronger. And I wonder what is next? What do I learn now that I’ve conquered getting out to the calmer waters? Will He teach me to dive deeper into His love? Will He teach me to swim to distant shores?
The depth of His love is like the deepest part of the ocean floor. I will never reach it. What I do know is wherever He leads it will be worth it.
Where are you? Are you still in the pool? Standing scared on the beach? Stuck in the undertow?