Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All things pass; God never changes. Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing:God alone suffices. -St. Teresa of Avila
Return to Innocence – Raise the dead: animate and reenergize what once was alive (part four of four)
A few years ago, I was vacationing in a tropical locale. I got bored just sitting on the beach and decided to pursue a little adventure. I took a scuba diving class. Have you ever done this? If you haven’t let me tell you how it works. I spent the morning in a three foot deep swimming pool learning how to use the equipment, wearing the tanks and practicing breathing underwater by using the mouthpiece. Easy-smeashy, right? Break for lunch, delightful. In the afternoon, I get on a boat, am taken out into the middle of the ocean, I gear up with the wetsuit, the tanks, the fins and, unlike the practice in the swimming pool, the crew put weights on the straps of my tanks! Weights! With all the equipment and the weights I am so heavy I need help standing up. Then, aided by the crew, I am walked to the edge of the boat and asked to jump into the deep, deep sea. I am so weighted down I can barely stand up, and now I’m expected to jump into the bottomless ocean? How can I trust that I won’t sink down, down and down to my drowning death? I am freaked out.
Here’s where trust must kick in. If I’m going to enjoy the adventure of scuba diving I have to put into practice what I learned and believed to be true in the pool.
If you are going to live the adventurous life of a follower of Jesus, with all its beauty and health, you must put into practice what you know to be true. Trust is learned by trusting. You cannot reason your way into faith, you can only take an informed leap into it.
Practical steps into faith (as taught me by a scuba diving lesson)
1. Desire truth – “The scuba gear is trustworthy, I will be able to breath underwater. I want to scuba dive” translates into “God can be trusted and I want to trust God.” Feed your desire for a life that depends on God’s supply of the air you need to sustain your life.
2. Develop supportive community – “Look, that woman isn’t sinking and she’s got equal amounts of gear and weights on her” translates into “look at the people around me, both personally known or known by reputation who have taken great risks of faith and are surviving, even thriving. I’ve trusted God in the past and God came through.” Live in a community of faith where you can admit your fears and be reminded of truth.
3. Practice the Presence – When I finally did get the courage to jump into the ocean, trusting the equipment that had been provided, I made sure I remained close to the instructor. True, this nearness was initially caused by fear; if something went wrong, I wanted to be close so he could save me. But as I relaxed and began to forget about the equipment and just enjoy the adventure, it benefited me to remain close to the instructor. He was practiced at seeing underwater. He pointed out beauty and unique sights that my unformed eyes would never have seen. I gained more profit by remaining close. So it is with God, let God be your companion. It is okay if your first motive is fear, hang in and relax, God will train your eyes to take in the sights and wonders of this life, unnoticed by those who remain distant or independent from God’s loving presence.
4. Remember well – “What was true in the pool is true in the ocean.”