Leap of Faith



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At the start of summer, we rushed back to the pool to get my son Alex, who was seven at the time, swimming again before he went to camp for the first time. He’d almost mastered swimming last summer, but we knew he needed practice to feel comfortable again.  Alex always had some anxiety and fear regarding the pool and swimming even with all of the lessons he’d had.  After a few days though, when he was swimming and jumping off the diving board again, he declared that “it took a leap of faith” for him to get back into the swim of things.

But there was another little girl, about four years old, who was having a much harder time taking the leap.  She stood on the end of the diving board in her pink swimsuit with a lemon print and bounced.  She wanted to jump, and she was prepared with floaties on her arms and chest.  Her parents and brother encouraged her from the sidelines, but all she could do was bounce.  She got down and then tried again.  Up and down several times.  One of the lifeguards who was not on duty generously jumped into the pool and treaded water below the diving board.  The lifeguard provided assurance that she would catch the girl or be right beside her if she required help.  But the little girl didn’t know the lifeguard well.  She bounced and bounced, but I didn’t see her jump into the pool that day.

At the time, I told my daughter “there’s a metaphor here,” but I didn’t see what the metaphor was until I revisited the situation.  I saw the little girl and thought about how scary it can be when we want to take a risk.  It’s so frightening when we cannot see how deep the water is; when we are afraid we’ll sink instead of swim; when we don’t know how long we’ll be in the deep before we make it safely to the edge.  Even when we’ve prepared and planned, we may be paralyzed by the decision to jump.  We bounce, back away, try again, and wait, wondering if the risk is worth the reward or possibly the heartache or failure.

I was consumed with my kinship with the little girl, but I completely forgot about the lifeguard in the water.  The lifeguard who offered calm, who was ready to give assistance or rescue if needed. The lifeguard who was already in the water waiting for the girl to jump.  But because she didn’t know the lifeguard, she couldn’t trust the lifeguard.

God is the lifeguard, already in the deep, waiting for us to be vulnerable. For us to either take a baby step off the diving board or take a running jump and make a huge splash with a cannonball. God is there to offer assurance, comfort, help, or rescue.  But if we don’t know God, if we don’t spend time with him, we won’t trust that God is going to catch us.  Praying, worshipping, singing, meditating, reading the Bible, and being in community with other believers will help strengthen our bonds with God.  If we don’t invest in our relationship with him, we will not learn to trust him.  Then, we may never take any of the risks in life that make it so rich and worthwhile.

Leaps of faith are hard.  The better we know God, the more we will trust him to help us when we take the plunges that we want and need to take.  So, let’s dive in knowing God is our lifeguard, who loves us and is there to save us.







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