It was our honeymoon and he was telling me to jump in. I’m not sure if I actually jumped or if someone nudged me from the platform into the clear, deep water, which was bubbling and swirling as they chummed, drawing the fish closer. My first time snorkeling and I’m taken to a deep, remote crater, with a plethora of large fish….and they told me to jump in. Ummmm,no.😳 The thing is, I couldn’t see what was below the fish, or even what kinds of fish were meandering at the surface. If sweating in water is possible, I was. The thing about floating in deep water is that you have little control, nothing to grab onto, nothing to stand on. I was forced to let go of everything, even Randy, and float, trusting nothing was going to sting me, bite me, or eat me. Randy was forced to do the same. We couldn’t put our full weight onto each other, which has always been something I’ve struggled with. I’m at ease when I feel like I can put my full trust onto my loved ones…but they were never meant to carry the weight of my needs and expectations, only God can handle that. He is our life vest, keeping us afloat in the deep.
That adventure was my first dose of thrill seeking adrenaline, something I was unaccustomed to. It seems that married life has had a way of drawing me deeper into waters I never thought I’d enter. I’m so thankful for that. How boring life would be in my own self contained boat, where I’m sure, I would never leave the shore.
As I read through Ezekiel this past week, chapter 47 caught my attention. It speaks of “The River from the Temple”, symbolizing our life in God and the blessings that flow from Him as we wade in to His love. The man in this chapter ventures from ‘ankle deep’ faith, to ‘knee deep’, up to his ‘waist’, all the way to the river being uncrossable. Wading into life with Jesus occurs the same way.
We start out ankle deep in our faith. Getting out of the captain seats of our own boats and learning to walk in His grace and love, but we can still see our feet and what lies below. We can continue to carry our hang ups, bad habits and anchors at this depth, while proclaiming freedom in Jesus. The shallows are no place for full surrender, but as we learn to trust a little more, we wade in deeper, to our knees. Knee deep faith becomes tougher to navigate, the mass of the water is challenging to push through, especially while carrying our anchors around, making running difficult. We can no longer run from our problems here and we become forced to deal with them. At knee depth we begin to take our struggles to Jesus, allowing Him access to our hearts and minds so He can clean out pride, illusions of control, and fear, that have kept us safely dormant from growth. Those things rob us of energy, making life seem full of pain, and impossible to navigate. As we surrender to the pull of His ocean of grace, He frees us,drawing us deeper, up to our waist. At some point we realize we can no longer see our feet, but we are not afraid, for we have learned the art of trusting the Grand Artist, letting Him shape and mold us as He desires. We overcome obstacles with grit, assurance of His goodness and ever present power. Waist deep waters of faith allow us to feel almost weightless, as we are freed from chains that bind us. Those self imposed anchors are no longer tethered to us, as we release them to Jesus. He is our Captain, and He is good, gracious, and has great plans for us along this river of life, and so we wade deeper….
As the river flows to deep for our feet to touch, we begin to swim. The new experience of freedom and trust, draws us from rivers of mercy into His ocean of grace. Imagine swimming in His glorious grace, unafraid. Anxiety and control have no place here. We can offer His grace to others as our lives are absorbed in Him. This is no place for clinging onto our ‘stuff’ or even people. It’s apparent at this point that we were never capable of doing such things. We can swim beside other swimmers as encouragers and offer assistance, but we can not carry the full weight of anyone, only Jesus is strong enough. Like Jesus, we can beckon our friends and family still on the shoreline to ‘get in’. Our hearts, being so full of His love, won’t be able to stifle our joy of swimming with Him. Such a thrilling adventure to swim in the depths of God’s love. My heart and mind can’t take it in completely, but I know I want to go there, and I don’t want to leave.
How deep have you gone with Jesus? Are you still skipping around in ankle deep faith, feeling like you’ve got this whole life thing under control. It’s a false notion. At some point the river is going to rise, like it or not, and you will be forced deeper. Don’t wait. Wade in a little further. He will guide you through murky waters, swift current, and peaceful depths where you get to float, without paddling. Dive in this week. Give Him all that you’ve been carrying and strap on your life vest…it’s an adventure like no other. You can do ALL things through Him!
Ezekiel 47:3-5~…and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist.5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.
John 7:38~Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Proverbs 3:5-6~Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.