Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Underwater


Many years ago my family took a trip to Maui, Hawaii
It was one of those trip-of-a-lifetime kinda trips
One of the things that I had arranged for us to do was to go snorkeling
I did a little homework and found a guide 
She was awesome
Not only did she love taking families out for this adventure
she provided all the gear and she also provided education
That day it was just our little family that she took out
She sat us all down on the sandy beach, 
myself, my husband, daughter, son and my mom
and gave us a lesson in sea life.
She had a book that she had written that she gave to us,
then she explained the best way to get in and out of our wet suits
she had us practice using our snorkels and flippers

Then the four of us, with our guide walked out into the ocean to explore
My mom stayed on the beach 
We swam with sea turtles for at least half an hour
It was spectacular!
There were a few sensations that we had to adjust to in order to enjoy ourselves
*swimming in a wet suit was one of them
*dealing with the pressure we felt from being underwater
*learning how to breath correctly with our snorkel
*following the instructions correctly that were given to us 
My mom on the beach had to adjust as well
she had to watch helplessly on the sand 
as she tried to make out where we had went under,
hoping that we would resurface and that all would be well.

I have not thought about that trip in a long time
but for some reason it came to mind the other day

This past month or so has felt like I have had the sensation of being "underwater"
I admit, it was unexpected
so I was initially unprepared for the adventure

I choose to think of this trial as an adventure in faith
a chance to improve my skills in this "underwater" environment 

For "underwater" is how it feels
Initially the pressure feels unbearable and then I learn to live in it
I realized fairly quickly that I had forgotten all of my equipment 
needed for such an excursion
This trial, this "underwater" adventure in faith

It has been a family affair and we have all experienced it differently
all I can testify to is my own experience

God continues to use the things in my life 
things I have experienced
things I have seen and touched
to teach me who He is

This time is no different. 
I think that is why He brought to mind that day on the beach...
to remind me that when He leads me "underwater"
it is not a mistake
I have things to learn
He is with me
and it is important to listen to His instructions 
and use the equipment He has provided.

There is only one guide that will do 
to help me navigate when I am "underwater"
The Holy Spirit 
He gives me just what I need
just when I need it
and not a second earlier
As long as I pay attention to how the Holy Spirit is guiding me
even when I don't understand
even when my heart skips a beat
even when it looks and feels so dark
I know from past experience that there is no need to doubt

John 14:26 But The Helper will teach you everything and will cause you to remember all that I told you. This Helper is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name. (ncv)

There is only one book that will show me 
all that I can expect in this under water world
The Bible, it is the perfect guide book
all the facts are in it, I just have to take some time to study.
This is best done prior to heading to where it is deep and sometimes dark
I have found that trying to use the quick guide version, 
a verse here and there
or a sermon once heard
although helpful is not enough to get me through. 

2 Timothy 3:16 All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction,instruction, and training for a life that is right (voice)

There is only one suit that will keep me dry and warm when I am "underwater"
The Armor of God
from head to toe when I have it on prior to finding myself fully immersed I feel confident
But this time, I had forgotten a few pieces and once I was "underwater"
it was much harder to get that Armor on, but I got it on all the same
The fact is, I had let my guard down while I was on the "beach", 
soaking in the sun
so when the tide came in and began to pull me under
I realized I did not have all I needed to survive

Ephesians 6:10-18 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (msg)

I had to make my way back to the shore, long enough to get what I needed 
*A call out to the Holy Spirit to give me the strength 
*Another look at the guide book, The Bible, 
to make sure I understood what was being asked of me 
and to see where I was being led to go.
*Tugging on my suit, The Armor of God, over my now water soaked skin.
Then reluctantly 
and obediently 
back "underwater" 
I go 

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray constantly (voice)

 Romans 8:26-28 A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. (voice)

My Guide is swimming right along side me 
with hand signals He points out what is going on in front of me
I can not hear Him because the pressure is so great
It can be so quiet "underwater"
Things feel like they are in slow motion
My Guide taps me on the shoulder and reminds me not to hold my breath
My suit, My equipment, it is there to allow me to breath 

John 16:13-15 The Spirit of truth will come and guide you in all truth. He will not speak His own words to you; He will speak what He hears, revealing to you the things to come and bringing glory to Me. The Spirit has unlimited access to Me, to all that I possess and know, just as everything the Father has is Mine. That is the reason I am confident He will care for My own and reveal the path to you. (voice)

There is so much for me to take in, to learn about, to see, to feel
Can I bear it here "underwater" long enough?
My Guide nods at me that I can
as long as I pay attention to Him
as long as I apply what I know from His guide book
as long as I keep on my suit for protection

I can bear it

I see my family swimming around with me as well
I signal to My Guide to protect them and to give them what they need

I see those that are on the beach...

watching us swim around "underwater"
our cheering section
our prayer warriors
wanting the best for us
watching us sink under
praying that we come out from our time "underwater"
whole and with a deeper understanding of the things of God
they are anxious to hear how we are


I imagine myself popping up to the surface just long enough
to give a little wave
a sign of assurance
we are in the best of hands
He promises to do what is best for us

those of you on the beach...
keep watching
keep praying


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