“But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!” Psalm 22:19
His ten digits gripped the edge of the pool in a relentless hold. He slowly inched around the perimeter. Right hand. Right foot. Left hand. Left foot. My arms encircled his little body as he made his first lap around the oval water track. With each round, my arms got further away from him until I was near him, but not guarding him.
“You got me, mommy?” He asked.
“I got you. Don’t worry. Keep going. You’re doing great.” I reassured him.
Moving to Florida brought with it a mandate for my boys to learn to swim. A wide variety of bodies of water, from backyard pools to the Gulf of Mexico, are in abundance in this muggy swamp land of a state.
Swimming is a progressive skill to learn. Getting over the fear of being in the water is first. Then you start bobbing, getting used to going under while blowing air out of your lungs, while still hanging onto the sides of the pool. Each skill scaffolds the next until you have enough proficiency to leave the safety of the pool wall to the vulnerability of the open water.
As my boys progressed through the chain of swimming skills, I was never far away. When the skill was new I was next to them. As they became more proficient, I was near enough that if they needed me I would be there to help.
Psalm 22:19 paints a similar picture of the writer and his relationship with God. “But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!”
God doesn’t toss us into the pool of life and expect us to know how to swim. He helps us acquire the skills we need to face whatever situations are in our future. David learned to trust God when he was a shepherd guarding sheep. His encounters with a bear and lion emboldened his faith to fight enemies bigger and stronger than he was. A trait he would need leading the nation of Israel. Moses gained leadership skills and an education living in pharaoh’s palace. Skills that God would use to establish the religious and leadership structure of the refugee nation.
We may not understand the purpose of the current circumstances we face, but we can trust that God is using those situations to scaffold our faith skills so we are ready to swim in the tougher unknown open waters of life knowing that He is always near to help in our time of need.
My boys didn’t know why they bobbed and crawled along the pool’s edge. They just listened to the instructor and did as they were told trusting that they were safe in the water because the lifeguard and mom were nearby.
What faith skill is God teaching you today? Look back over the past year, what skills did God scaffold in your life to prepare you to face your challenges of today? Thank Him for His watchful care and instruction.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.