The deep end of the pool was only 5’ 6”.
But I’m a mere 5’ 4”.
So, even on my tip-toes, my head would be underwater if I ventured into the depths.
So, I didn’t venture.
Even when my adorable nephews wanted me to. I was happy to play with them in the water – but not in the deep end.
I did what I always do when I go swimming. I stayed where I could safely touch the bottom at all times.
In case you’re wondering – yes, I can swim. And no, I’ve never had a near-drowning experience that permanently scarred me. However, I’m not a very strong swimmer. And I just don’t feel safe knowing I can’t plant my feet and stand up if I need to.
When those same nephews wanted to go swimming in a lake, I had no problem jumping off the dock with them. We had a blast playing on the splash pad – falling on and off, going in and out of the water. We swam around in the little cove by the lake house we rented for our family vacation. I felt confident and safe, despite the fact that the waters were probably far deeper than the pool. I couldn’t tell you just how deep, since we couldn’t see or touch the bottom.
So…why did I feel so carefree in an environment that should have been scarier? In much deeper, murkier waters, probably filled with creatures swimming next to me unseen? What made me feel so confident? So safe?
A life jacket.
Tucked around me and fastened securely, the life jacket made venturing into deep waters a breeze. I knew that no matter what we did (my nephews each had one on too), we couldn’t sink. I had no worries about needing to touch the bottom. I wasn’t stressed about keeping my head above water. I could relax and enjoy our time together, regardless of the depths around us.
My life jacket would keep me safe.
Recently, I was listening to a song that brought these memories to mind – and gave them new meaning. The song was Oceans, by Hillsong. Do you know it? Here’s a few of the lyrics:
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.
Hmm…deeper than my feet could wander. Sounds like one of those scary places where I can’t touch the bottom.
“Made stronger.” Really? Out there in the deep unknown? Could I really feel stronger? Confident? Safe?
It all comes down to the next line. “In the presence of my Savior.”
As I listened to the song, I suddenly got it: The Lord is my life jacket.
He surrounds me. Secures me. Keeps me afloat. With Him, I can swim like I did at the lake. With confidence. With joy. With a carefree spirit, knowing I’m safe in my life jacket.
Oh, how I want to apply that to every day – to every moment!
Whatever comes my way, it’s ok – I’m wearing my life jacket.
Whatever challenges I face. Whatever storms come. Whatever people say or do.
It’s ok. I’m wearing my life jacket.
How much more free I would feel! How much more confident! If I just remember I have that life jacket on – all the time!
When relationship struggles take me in over my head – it’s ok, I’m wearing a life jacket. When work projects take me in over my head – it’s ok, I’m wearing a life jacket. When life takes me in over my head – it’s ok, I’m wearing a life jacket.
The Lord is always with me. He’s got me. He is my life jacket.
Will waves come? Yes. Will I sometimes end up with a mouthful of nasty water? Yes. Do I need to be aware of rocks, and speed boats, and snakes in the water? Yep. Life still has challenges. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble.” But He didn’t stop there. He continued with “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
He has also told us, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
To the full!
Jumping-off-the-pier full! Swimming-in-deep-waters-without-fear full! Facing-each-day-with-peace full!
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
He gives us peace. Confidence. Security. Joy.
We just have to put on the life jacket. And then remember we have it on.
The song goes on to say:
I will call upon your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in your embrace
I am yours and you are mine
Yes. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I can do. Rest. Relax. Enjoy the swim. He’s right there with me.
Lord, help me keep my eyes on you and not the waters. Help me remember that I can rest in your embrace. I can jump boldly into whatever each day brings. I can go into life knowing I am wearing a life jacket. Knowing that you’ve got me.
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
– Psalm 3:3