Have you ever relaxed on a raft in a pool or the ocean? For me it’s the epitome of peacefulness. Feeling the warm sun, smelling the fresh breeze, floating softly as the stress just melts away. That’s the life. If only such bliss could continue for more than an hour!
Not many of us have the opportunity to float care-free on a regular basis. Besides a pool, ocean or very large bathtub, there’s another critical element we need: a raft. Although we can float on our back without aid from a raft, we have to stay alert to make sure our legs and torso don’t drop because that’s when gravity takes over and we start to sink. No, we just can’t get the same peaceful floating experience without a raft.
Or can we?
When I was in Israel, we made our way South and stopped for an afternoon at the Dead Sea. Although I had been to the Great Salt Lake in Utah, something about a body of water with “Dead” in the name made me imagine putrid, black water. What a surprise to see the beautiful blue-green sea with the bright white beaches. But those beaches aren’t sand––they’re salt! The Dead Sea is completely saturated with salt. In fact, the salt concentration in the water is 33% which is the highest possible saturation without becoming salt crystals. By comparison, the average ocean is only 12-13% salt. One more fun fact: the salt on the bottom of the Dead Sea (that looks like sand) is over a half mile thick.
The amazing benefit of all of that salt is that you can’t sink!
You can actually sit down on the water and float. No effort required! Remember those sit and spins we used to have as kids? Well, this is sit and float! You can bob up and down, and you’ll always pop back up. At one point, I paddled out to deep water and tried to push down to touch the bottom. I couldn’t. The saturated salt water prevented me from going under.
As I sat on the water and then reclined back as if I was in a lounge chair, it made me think of how God holds us up.
Nothing about this water in the Dead Sea looked different than water in any other tropical location. I couldn’t see the salt keeping me afloat. I didn’t know how it was possible that I could feel like I was supported by a raft when there was nothing tangible holding me up. I was safe and secure without doing anything myself. All I had to do was relax and lay back, and the salt water did the rest.
In the same way, God keeps us afloat. We don’t always see Him working around us. We don’t know how He’s protecting us and keeping our head above water. But He is. And if we’re willing to trust Him and lay back to rest in His powerful hands, we can float peacefully in our circumstances without any risk of sinking.
The hard part is relaxing and trusting that God’s hands are beneath us.
It’s easy to get caught up in the swirl of real life. The frenzy of circumstances and everyday busyness can make us panic and feel like we’re going under. That’s when it’s time to hit pause and remember that our life is like being in the Dead Sea. No matter how deep it gets below us, our circumstances are saturated with God’s love and protection. His hands are always holding us up. We’re safe with Him. We’ll never sink. And we can experience the amazing phenomenon of floating in the midst of our circumstances without a manmade raft.
The turmoil of real life can be as unnerving as floating in a lounge chair of salt water. But who knows, the saltiness of our real life experiences may be something we truly cherish as we begin to rest in God’s hands and float in peace like never before.
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8
May I pray?
Lord, it’s hard to sit down on salt water and believe we’re not going to sink. In the same way, it’s hard to rest in Your hands and believe that You’re going to hold us up. Give us the courage to turn our circumstances over to You. Help us to take that first step of faith. Help us to calmly rest in Your hands and turn the results over to You. You alone can keep us afloat. And You will if we’ll put our trust in You. Thank You for Your unfailing love. Amen.
Q4U: What’s been a struggle in your life where you can now lay back and trust God as you rest in His hands?
It is so true that it is hard to relax and trust that God keeps us from sinking in our circumstances. I have a tendency to worry a lot. I worry about my future, and especially how my past will affect my future. If I would just learn to trust that God will be there to hold me up, then I might not have to deal with so much anxiety.
I’m with you on this. God can come through in the most amazing ways in my life, but when the next challenge hits I’m struggling to let go and trust Him. For me, this is when it helps to have sisters in Christ who can remind me to step back from the swirl of my circumstances and remember how God has handled things in the past. The truth is that He has handled everything perfectly – once I’ve gotten out of His way 🙂