I have two memories of swimming with my dad:
The first: My dad took my brother and I to a friend’s in-ground pool for his scuba lesson. My dad was in the deep end learning how to use the equipment. I was jumping up and down seeing how deep I could get. The pool sloped quickly and suddenly I was over my head. I panicked. I was flailing my arms, screaming, and going down. My dad, underwater and involved in his lesson was oblivious to my situation. It was my brother who jumped in and saved me. My dad was good, kind and able but he was unaware of my need.
Unknowingly we can develop a similar view of God. Because God does not change the circumstances that are overwhelming us, we can begin to think He is involved elsewhere and unaware of how deeply we need help. “God is good, caring, and able” we proclaim to others but it is harder to hold on to this for ourself when our own life is on the edge. Trust is difficult when it feels like God is helping everybody but you.
The second swimming memory was at a lake. I was fearful of swimming in the lake because of the steep drop off. My hero brother who saved me before now mercilessly chided me to come on out and learn to swim. Fear overwhelmed me. Aware of the situation, my dad swam to me, turned around and told me to put my arms around his neck. Off we went into the deep water, the weeds licking our toes. On my father’s back, even though I was in imminent danger, trust came easy. What a difference it made that my dad was not just good, caring and able to help but that he was also present and aware of my need.
Moses once prayed “Lord, if your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Ex 33:15 Learning to trust is not meant to be a futile mental exercise but rather it is seeing a deeper reality that no matter what happens, our God is good, He is caring, He is able AND He is aware and present with us.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God…. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Lk 12:6-7
Learning to ride on my Father’s back…