As a mom, a big part of my job is to teach my children. All you fellow parents know that throughout the day, we’re teaching our children morals, manners, numbers, letters, etc. (or attempting to, that is). And my 3-year-old is smack in the middle of the “why, mommy??” phase, so I’m doing a lot more teaching and explaining than I’d like these days!
But even so, I’m continually amazed at how much God has to teach me through their sweet, innocent lives. Scripture talks about how much Jesus loves little children, and how our faith should be like that of a child (see Matthew 18:3), because He knows the power they have to illustrate scriptural principles.
Recently, I had one such experience. While washing dishes one evening, I listened as my son expressed to his father an intense fear about taking off his floaties at the pool (there’s an indoor pool in town we’ve been using with the big kids as a way to work on swim skills during the winter. It’s also a great way to burn through those dicey pre-bedtime hours!).
While my daughter was happy to shed her floaties and swim “like a big kid,” my sweet, cautious boy has been reticent to follow suit. After several “I just don’t want to!” responses, Aaron was able to coax the real fear out of him:
I’m afraid of sinking to the bottom, he said in a sweet, small voice.
With a smile, Aaron asked him, do you really think I would let you sink?
Again, that sweet, small voice held intense resolve—yes.
With a confident, big bear hug, Aaron scooped him up and reassured him, I would never, ever let you sink!
I laughed as I dried worn pots and pans, thinking how absurd it was for my child to think we would ever let him get even close to sinking … but as soon as the thought crossed my mind, my own Heavenly Father gently whispered, but you relate to me in the same way, child. Do you really think I would ever, could ever, let you sink?
Comfort and conviction mingled in the midst of these thoughts, because truthfully, I live far too much of my life acting as if He will let me sink. Too often, I choose fear over trust … or worry over peace … or impatience over patient confidence that God will provide an answer to whatever situation has me wringing my hands that day.
Can you relate? We say with our mouths the truth of God’s Word and His promises to us … and yet, all too often our actions speak—shout, even—the exact opposite.
Our Creator God knows us intimately and understands our propensity to feel as though we’re sinking under the weight of our trials during stormy seasons. One of my favorite scriptures describing His promise to keep us anchored above the waves comes from Isaiah:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you (Isaiah 43:2).
In the New Testament, we see Jesus calm the storm that His disciples feared would overtake them (see Matthew 8:23-27). And we read with awe the story of Peter walking on water with Jesus—who reached out and took hold of Peter when fear sent him sinking (see Matthew 14:22-33).
Over and over, we see God speak directly to this fear in us…this fear that our circumstances and our trials will sink us straight to the bottom of the deep end. That our pain, like a mammoth wave, will overtake us.
He meets that fear with the calm assurance of His never-ceasing presence and sustaining, steadfast love. Indeed, it is a hope we have as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19).
Is there some pain, some trial, some burden in your life, and it’s threatening to overwhelm and sink you under its weary weight? Are you afraid of going under? Perhaps the enemy is whispering in your ear the smooth lie that you can’t survive this; this is going to sink you.
Dear reader, may I encourage you—as I encourage myself—to listen intently to the voice of your Father. Mediate on and absorb the words of truth, these words that deliver life-sustaining oxygen to drowning lungs:
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:1-4 ESV).
May we be willing to trust our Father in a deeper way this week. May we find ourselves inching out over the water, anchored in a growing faith. And may the enemy’s deceitful voice be the only thing we find drowning!