Friday, March 23, 2007

Swim or Drown

Do not be afraid, for I am with you... Isaiah 43:5

When the girls were small we were fortunate to have a family house at the beach. With all the water around, Al and I thought it was important for them to learn to swim. We did put them in swimming lessons but to supplement their lessons, I would play that fun game, Swim or Drown in our calm shallow bay.

How this game worked was I would take one daughter into bay where I could stand but she could not. I would tell her to swim to me, and as she approached I would step back. And back. And back. She would yell to me "Mommy, don't move." And I would smile and say back to her "Swim or drown!"

Before you call DYFS on me, let me point out that, both daughters survived to ages 17 and 19. Both can swim and my older one is a swim instructor and life guard at the YMCA. I would never play this game with other children, only my own. The trick with my own daughters was this: they knew I loved them and would do anything for them. They knew I would never let them drown. So while they huffed and squealed, they were never really afraid because they knew I might let them go under once, but I would never left them drown.

My walking backwards encouraged them to try when they otherwise would quit. My presence gave them confidence. And they knew for sure that I could swim.

Because we have had a busy ministry week at church, I was reminded of this game. I felt what God was playing Swim or Drown with us. Stretching us, allowing obstacles to be thrown in our way, walking backwards almost, to encourage us to know all that we can do in His power.

And when children get sick, cars get hit, people have other obligations and cannot help, roofs leak, technology limits us, even the size of our building constrains us, I huff and squeal and say, "Father, don't move." But our game make us stronger. Builds our faith. Reveals His power. Demonstrates His willingness to use us broken vessels for His glory.

Despite the trouble and confusion, His presence gives us confidence. And we know for sure He can swim.

And yes, I am tired when it's over, but I always want to play again. Join me, won't you?

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