OPELIKA, Ala. (BP)–I’ve had one too many household chores, one too many appointments and one too many items on my to-do-list of recent. With eight phone calls and 23 e-mails to return, two piles of laundry to fold and several errands to run, I decided to throw all inklings of responsibility to the wind. “Kids, grab the towels and the sun screen! We’re gonna indulge in an all-day relaxation at the pool!”
Squeals of delight echoed through the house as two overexcited children danced a jig while changing into their swimsuits. As we climbed into the car, I noticed that some intense conspiring was going on between brother and sister. “Can we invite friends to come?” came the result of the whispering. I found this request to be perfect, as my definition of “friends at the pool” is ones who play with your kids so that mommy doesn’t have to participate in 15 rounds of Marco Polo. “Sure,” I grinned, satisfied at my ability to win the greatest mom in the world award while accommodating my own agenda to “veg” by the pool.
We arrived at the pool, and the kids immediately became enamored with fun in the sun. With my book, my sunglasses and my jumbo sweet tea, I stretched out on the lounge chair. Finally, a little rest and relaxation. A sigh of contentment escaped my lips as I reflected on the sheer brilliance of my plan for the day.
In between chapters two and three of my high suspense novel, I lowered my book to check on the children. Isn’t it amazing how people can experience a shift of emotions in the blinking of an eye? I went from total contentment to total terror in a split second. In the center of the pool, floating face down was 5-year-old Matthew (one of my children’s friends). The site of his lifeless form sent a flash of heat and a wave of nausea through my entire body. “Oh, Jesus, please!” I yelled as I leaped from my chair and dove into the water. The adrenaline rush threatened to paralyze my muscles, and I seemed to move in slow motion. My face twisted in emotion as my heart told me that it was too late; this child had drowned.
When I got within two feet of Matthew, he popped up, took a deep breath and began another session of the dead man’s float.
“Matthew!” I yelled with a voice that quivered from a mixture of fear and relief, “Have you lost your mind? I thought you had drowned!” Contemplating drowning the child myself I continued, “Do you know how scared I was? I thought I had lost you!” Not grasping the level of anxiety he had caused, Matthew shrugged his shoulders, readjusted his blue dolphin goggles and swam off. Needless to say, it was hard to capture the serene sense of calm I had enjoyed before the raising of Lazarus.
Once my heart rate had dropped back to a normal level and the nausea passed, I began to ponder the similarities of Matthew’s Broadway production with our walk with Christ. I began to wonder if the sense of sadness, desperation, panic and sorrow that I felt when I saw Matthew’s lifeless body is the same way our Heavenly Father feels when we, His children, do the dead man’s float in our spiritual lives. Does He grieve at the mere possibility of losing us to the snares of the world? Does He run full speed to try and rescue His drowning beloved? You bet He does. He is our Father and we are His children. The love we have for our own children is only a fraction of the love our Father has for us. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him” (Psalm 103:11).
We must be aware of the dangers of floating in our spiritual lives, because a body that floats will eventually sink. We may be tempted to skip our prayer time and put off nourishing ourselves with His Word day after day. It is during these times of floating that temptation can take us under. We may float through life for a while neither swimming nor sinking, but eventually our sins will weigh us down and cause us to sink deeper and deeper into despair.
We must swim the race. I realize that the Bible says we must “run the race” but work with me here. I say we must swim the race with eagerness, in such a way as to win the prize. Spend time with Jesus, read His Word and let His living water be the strong current that keeps you swimming in the right direction. And whatever you do — never stop to float!
Ginger Plowman, of Opelika, Ala., is an assistant director for Proverbs 31 Ministries, for which she speaks at women’s events and parenting conferences across the country. For more information visit her website at www.gingerplowman.com.