Monday, March 1, 2010
"Don't make me, Mommy! Please!" He begs and I tell him it's ok for what seems like the hundredth time.
"James, it's ok. I'm right here. I'll hold you just like I held Kregg." I hold out my arms and wait for him to jump. His baby brother, Kregg, is already floating around in the water with his cousins.
"NO!" James shouts and takes his 5 year old body out of the pool as fast as possible. He runs into a towel held by my husband. My husband ... who is standing a safe 10 feet away from the swimming pool.
Two summers past, my sister-in-law put a pool in her backyard. It's only about 4 foot deep from any point in the entire circle. But, for James ... it might as well be a mile deep. He's afraid of swimming pools ... not really the entire pool ... just anything beyond the steps and metal handrail. For him, the steps and handrail mean safety. As long as he is holding on to those things, he feels safe.
Over the July 4th weekend that summer, we made plans to have a cook out and go swimming. James was excited. He talked non-stop about jumping into the pool and swimming all around. So, Jerry and I were both really surprised when James wouldn't budge from the pool steps.
I tried everything I could think of to get James past those steps. I tried to carry him out into the center of the pool. I pried his hands from the rail and took him crying into the "deep" water ... I thought once he got there ... he would realize it wasn't so bad ... that didn't work. I tried to let him float on a tube ... tried to let his big brother carry him ... nothing worked. James knew I was right there ... waiting. James knows how much I love him. He knows I would never let go of him.
I'm a lot like James. All too often, I let my fears get in the way. I stand at the handrail ... at the steps ... I watch while my friends and other believers play in the deep end. I want to do what they're doing. I want to feel secure enough to let go and jump into the water. I know Jesus is right there waiting for me. He would never let me drown. He would never let me go into water that wasn't safe. But still ... I hold on to that handrail ... not wanting to let go of what I think is safety.
In reality, HE is my safety. It doesn't matter how deep the water is ... what might be beneath the water's surface ... HE is bigger than those things. His love is deeper than any pool of water, bigger than any fear waiting beneath the surface of any pool.
He won't force me to go into the deep water ... He'll wait there for me ... holding out His hands and saying ... "It's ok, I'm right here."
Are you holding onto the handrail today?
Job 23:10-11 "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside."