Part of me has always believed in God's love and kindness toward me. I have often struggled, though, to stay in that place of security. My deep belief in his love for me seemed to be constantly getting off course some place between my head and my heart. And as soon as I was filled with his love and goodness, it seemed to drain away leaving me feeling alone and like I was doing it wrong.
I am fortunate to possess a certain stubbornness, and at some point in my early 20s I decided to begin to apply that stubbornness to my quest for closeness with God. What a good decision that has been, and I would like to share a taste of the struggles and the fruit with you.
I remember a particularly frustrating season years ago when I said angrily to God, "Why do you keep acting like my swim teacher??" You see, I had always been a weak swimmer. My number one memory from swim lessons was that I would finally be getting to the edge of the pool, reaching for my teacher, and she would step back to make me swim the last 6 feet. This always made me so mad! I was there! Just let me grab your hand for crying out loud, I'm about to drown, here!!
So I had spent weeks playing around with this picture in my head of God the Father standing there watching me approach, exhausted, and feeling unable to swim one more stroke. Just when I thought I was there! I had made it and now he would grab my hand! Nope. He seemed to step back and say, "You can swim a few more strokes." I was feeling like he really didn't see me. Didn't see how desperate I was. Finally, instead of fuming and playing out this scenario in my head, I actually said to God, "Why are you being my swim teacher??" I was so hurt and frustrated. Instantly, I heard him say to my heart, "I'm not your swim teacher, I'm the water you're swimming in."
Ohhhhhhh! Peace and love flooded my heart as I accepted this new and real image that replaced my near-sighted, faithless one. If you are what I'm swimming in, then I can quit fighting. I can quit gritting my teeth and pushing harder. For weeks after that, I would take moments all through my day to pause just for a moment and get in touch with WHO I was swimming in. I would get in touch with how easy it was to float if I chose to float. I would look in his kind not-swimming-teacher-eyes. I could actually access his love and care for me whether my circumstances got easier or not.
"It's with lasting love that I am tenderly caring for you." Isaiah 54:7 MSG