Sunday, July 3, 2011

A quick vacation note

We are on vacation at the Gulf of Mexico, enjoying the white sands and semi-crowded beaches and all of that. Having a great time, by the way.

Anyway, earlier today I was out in the ocean with my two kids. Alex, my near-six year old, is a strong swimmer for his age, so I of course was letting him come out a bit deeper than his younger brother. He eventually swam out to where I was standing (about chest-deep on me). But even being a pretty fearless swimmer, the waves around him started to worry him a bit. So instead of just swimming back (as he had been doing), he asked me to carry him back.

My response—without really even thinking about it—was: “No, son. You’re strong enough to do this, and if you try you will make it.” Of course I knew that I would be there to catch him if he failed; but I wanted him to try it. And of course, he swam like a champion, up to the shore. As he crawled onto the beach he grinned with pleasure, amazed at his own ability, and with the knowledge that he was stronger than he thought. Meanwhile, I was proud of what he had accomplished, even if I had controlled the situation a bit (giving a slight push as he started, standing between him and the deep water, giving a pep talk, etc.).

As he swam back, I couldn’t help but think of how often God tells us the same thing. How often do we beg for God to do something for us, and He does not? Sometimes this is because we ask for the wrong things, of course. Sometimes it is because it simply isn’t His plan. But there are times, I believe, when God wants us to swim on our own. Now of course, He teaches us how; and He protects us from the danger, ready to snatch us up as needed; and He gives us the pep talk to get started. But nonetheless, when we follow His guidance—even when we don’t think we can!—both we and He can find ourselves pleased with the results.

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