by Susan Rigby
October 30, 2019
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb . . . On each side of the river stood the tree of life.” Revelation 22:1-2
I don’t swim.
I don’t know how to swim.
I know the mechanics of swimming but actually getting into a pool, lifting my body up, kicking my legs, using my arms to move me along has never really worked for me. I can go a few yards maybe but then . . . I sink like a rock – a big rock.
And then there’s the whole thing of putting my face under water. You can’t breathe under water. That’s another whole problem with swimming. I don’t know how to not breathe.
But I remember the day my mom taught me to float. Even I, a non-swimmer, was actually floating. What a feeling that is. Floating on the water, arms not clenching but stretched out wide and this amazing totally free feeling. It’s the most totally free feeling probably ever . . .
But also, the most physically exposed, the most vulnerable position one can ever be in. You are totally unprotected when you float, but it’s wonderful.
In David Benner’s little book Surrender to Love he uses the metaphor of learning to float to describe what it means to surrender to the love of God. Giving up my way, my efforts, my worry and my control to trust God completely.
Benner says, “The English word surrender carries the implication of putting one’s full weight on someone or something. It involves trust. One cannot let go of self-dependence and transfer dependence to someone else without trust.”
The story of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14 is an example of that kind of trust. Peter is in a boat and he sees Jesus walking on the water. He decides to jump in and walk to Jesus, but his faith is interrupted when he takes his eyes off Jesus – then Peter begins to sink.
I want to be that believer who floats in the arms of my Savior. I want to be one who trusts God. I want to want to not try to control my life. But the truth is, when I’m really honest, I’m sinking and Jesus is saying, “Just look at me, just stop and look to me.”
I think a lot these days about floating.
You can’t lift your head to see where you’re going or what you might bump into if you float. You have to just lie there . . . and look up. The sky is beautiful and wide and peaceful and free above you. But if I lift my head, I lose it all and . . . sink.
When I find myself anxious, I pray this little prayer to myself – “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me. I believe and trust you, help my unbelief.”
Susan has been a “Spiritual Companion” for a few people during her retirement. She loves this grace, this gift from God to sit with others and see how God is speaking into their lives. Her daughter Maryanne and she do life together. Susan had surgery recently and this prayer was a gift God gave her to trust Him during this time.