Sink or Swim

Sink or Swim
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When I was little, I was afraid to get baptized. I thought there might be sharks in the baptismal pool. Eventually, after watching folks get dunked unscathed, I decided to wade in the water. My body got wet, but my stony heart remained high and dry.

I remember watching The Ten Commandments on Easter Sunday, the night before “Easter Monday” and the kickoff to our “Easter week” vacation from school. I must admit I didn’t understand what the parting of the Red Sea had to do with our wearing fancy dresses, fighting for a seat in church, and eating ham and candied yams after church. I just knew we loved ourselves some Charlton Heston and Anne Baxter and looked forward to having a homework-free week.

When folks told me that Santa rode in a limo and walked through the front door in our part of the country, I swallowed it hook, line, and sleigh. And I continued to cling to the whole down-the-chimney and Rudolph-leading-the-way thing despite our relatively warm winters and not-so-white Christmases until I was twelve years old. Yes, twelve. Looking back, I wonder if I considered Jesus and the Nativity Story just another self-seeking fairy tale to believe in, along the same lines as Santa and his counterpart, the Tooth Fairy. Basically, if I believed in them, they’d give me stuff like money, Barbies, and angel’s wings.

Basically, I was confused. Yet, as confused as I was then, I realize folks are even more confused now about the Who, what, when, where, and how of God. Recently, I turned to an educational show about the mysteries of the Bible. And boy, was I schooled. In this program, “acclaimed” international scholars, theologians, and experts explained away God’s miracles, revealed the “contradictions” behind ancient texts, and proved their theories of who really wrote the “so-called” gospels–all in these authoritative, know-it-all voices. They informed me that the Israelites were merely lost for forty years, that the book of Revelation is just an allegory of ancient Rome’s fall, and that the loving God I serve is actually vengeful and capricious, and is generally out to get me.

For a minute, I perched there on my bed and considered the role these learned folks play in the education of our young people, yours and mine. How might they influence those tender hearts while they’re busy steering their seeking minds? Would my little people grasp the lie and let go of the Truth? I admit, this program shook the mommy in me. It led me to recall what the child in me used to cling to as fact.

But Hubby reassured the believer in me. He reminded me that God knows more than the theologians. He endures. People have been questioning and wondering and scoffing since Eve decided she didn’t like her serving of fruit. He has been raising up His own, thoroughly equipping them for service, providing the armor—offensive and defensive—to guard their minds and hearts in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:17; Ephesians 6:10-20; Philippians 4:7). No one can take away what God gives.

And God gave me my own little people, gray hair, and faith. I know that it didn’t take a shark-infested pool for Jesus to wash my sinful heart clean. When I watch the Angel of Death passing over a bearded Charlton Heston, I celebrate the true risen Christ who offered Himself as my sacrificial Lamb. I give and get a lot of stuff at Christmas, but I know His birth allowed my rebirth. Yet I’m old enough and wise enough to know it’ll take an eternity to fully understand God’s Word, will, and ways. For instance, how do I “pray continuously” about something if I’ve “cast all my cares” on Jesus? Why does a thorn in my side draw me closer to Him—wouldn’t its removal serve the same purpose? He’s overcome the world, but why do my fears often overwhelm me? Did the whales swim alongside the Ark or were they on board in a giant tank?

Do you ever have a crisis of faith? Does the clamor of the world drown out God’s call on your life? That happens to me. Sometimes I get dragged down by the weight of facts and figures. What I see and experience muddies the waters, making it seem impossible to believe in what–Who–I can’t see and it shakes me up. But we should let our doubts stir up greater faith. The Lord clings to us even when we lose our grip. When I’m swimming in tears, I can’t just cry; I need to and do cry out to Him.

Know that merely calling on Jesus when you’re sinking shows your faith in the One Who saves.

“…And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” Matthew 14:29-32

 

 

4 Comments

  1. This is right on time Robin!

    Reply
    • I started this just before Easter and I kept putting it aside until now. So this must be for you, Kim! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Hi Robin,
    I love how you don’t shy away from the tough questions & apparent contradictions. I too struggle with the dichotomy of “do I “pray continuously” about something if I’ve “cast all my cares” on Jesus?” When/How am I to be like the woman who pestered the judge versus Knowing He’s hears and moving on in faith?

    Also so agree with your concerns about those who teach our little ones ~ “How might they influence those tender hearts while they’re busy steering their seeking minds?” And it goes way beyond preschool or elementary!

    Bless you for your concluding statement: “The Lord clings to us even when we lose our grip.” Hallelujah! Amen. We are such frail creatures. So glad we can trust our powerful Lord.

    So nice to meet you here.
    Blessings to you and yours,
    Mary Kay

    PS Your/Our childhood experiences trying to reconcile the parting of The Red Sea & Mary & Jesus & The nativity with Easter dresses and bunnies and Christmas presents is reflected in a cute video I linked onto my FB page. You and your family might get a kick out the the little gal that asks questions of her Dad (who she thinks has lost his mind because he’s painting faces on eggs). Enjoy

    Reply
    • Having seven little people forces me to face the tough questions, and I praise God Who is the answer.
      Blessings to you, Mary Kay! I appreciate the support from a fellow writer. I’ll be sure to check out that video, thank you!

      Reply

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  1. WORDS As Seeds, Stakes, and Harvest | Mary Kay Moody - […] her 7 children. (I’m imagining Laura Ingalls Wilder’s one-room schoolhouse.) Recently Robin wrote about listening to an educational show…

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