Swimming the Deep End

Have you ever been in the ocean at night? At first, it’s exhilarating. We feel daring and adventurous swimming the shallow waters between mystery and solid ground. But as clouds darken the sky, there’s no way to see what lurks below. The farther out we drift, the more nervous we become. What if a shark thinks we’re a wounded seal? What if a wave crashes down and we begin to drown? What if the undertow pulls us out? Who would be able to save us? Could they even find us? Will our night of living on the edge become a nightmare?

Our attitude toward potential danger–like swimming in the ocean at night–says a lot about us.

Not everyone has nerves of steel. And many of us would rather play it safe by avoiding possible hazards, no matter how remote they may be. So we stay in the swimming pools of life. The ones with the really deep diving wells. We frolic and splash, and sometimes keep our floaties on. No need to mix things up and get in over our head.

But whether we venture out on our own or accidently float a bit too far, at some point in our life we’ll all be swimming the deep end.

We feel that rush of adrenaline, good or bad, as the bottom sinks away below us and the water gets cold. Treading water isn’t that hard. Our skills are tested as we conjure up the confidence that we can stay afloat as long as necessary. But fatigue sets in. Sooner than we think it should. We want to get back on solid ground, but if our feet touch down now we’re sunk. Why doesn’t anyone throw us a life ring?

The deep end becomes a scary place.

It’s not fun anymore because it’s clear: We’re not in control. And we can’t save ourselves. We have nowhere to turn. In these times of helplessness we cry out to God. We may not be sure we believe. We may not know if He hears us. But we’re desperate and afraid. And sinking.

God hears. Jesus responds.

It often takes us slipping off our life raft into deep water before we recognize our need for Jesus. He’s our lifeguard. Always watching. Always ready to swim up next to us and keep us afloat. He may pull us to safety. But He may not. He may tread water with us and show us how strong we really are. He wants to help us face our fears. He wants to help us overcome our obstacles. He wants us to turn to Him and trust Him, especially in the deep end.

Jesus came to save us–He won’t let us sink if we hold onto Him.

When we’re swimming the deep end of real life, we can grab for other things and other people, but nothing will keep us floating for very long. Only Jesus can truly save us. Only He can bring us to solid ground.

Don’t wait until you’re sinking. Call on Him now. Let Jesus start teaching you how to prepare for the deep end. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself treading water next to someone who feels like they’re going under. Then you can throw them a life ring of hope as you tell them about the One who can save them.

“The Lord protects the helpless; when I was in danger, He saved me.” Psalm 116:6 (GNT)

May I pray?

Jesus, thank you for coming to save us. Help us to stop grabbing for other things and other people that can’t keep us afloat. Take hold of us, Lord, and don’t let go. Keep our head above water and turn our face to You. We want to see You. We want to know You’re here. And if it’s Your will that we stay in the deep end for a while longer, then please give us the stamina to keep treading water. May we learn to praise You for treading water with us. Amen.

Q4U: What deep end experience have you faced?

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