Going Deeper: Saying Yes To God
Mike is a retired teacher who enjoys writing. He is married to Pam. Mike has published a book: Spirit Sprinkles. Here is the first of a two part series on his experience of going deeper with God.
“Just put your head in the water and open your eyes.”
I hated school swimming lessons when I was young. I simply didn’t want to put my head in the water, let alone open my eyes! The swimming teacher kept ‘encouraging’ me, but I knew where my place was. In the shallows with my feet planted firmly on the pool’s bottom.
So, I grew up dreading Tuesday mornings during Years 7 and 8. The class would divide in two. Twenty-eight pupils who could seemingly swim like dolphins down the deep end of the town pool. Two other pupils in the shallow end, one of whom was me. I certainly had no intention of going out of my depth!
Fast forward 25 years and I was teaching at a school in Solihull. One that had an outdoor swimming pool for staff to use on summer evenings. So, I often took our young family there and decided to try to teach myself to swim. I wore arm bands, but I gradually deflated the bands every time I swam. After two years of slow progress I ditched the arm bands and could just about front crawl for 3 metres. Progress! (of a sort). But the deep end remained a place where others went; it remained a forbidding place – way, way out of my comfort zone. Why would I want to go there?
Then God brought my attention to Ezekiel chapter 47. An angel shows Ezekiel the river of life flowing from the temple in Jerusalem. A beautiful picture of Holy Spirit flowing out from His church into the world.
The first thing I learned was this: Admiring the river from the bank wasn’t an option; Ezekiel had to get INTO the river. Staying static wasn’t really an option because he was continually led DEEPER. However, Ezekiel had a choice to follow, or not. The word ‘led’ is used at least 5 times in this passage. There is so much more of Holy Spirit to experience and the good news is He really DESIRES to take us into a deeper relationship. But we have to keep saying “yes” to Him.
Fast-forward fifteen years to 2016. I could now swim the grand distance of…the same three metres! I had moved school to one that didn’t have an outdoor pool and so had made no progress whatsoever. But early retirement meant I could be a weekly visitor at Tudor Grange Pool.
Weekly swimming extended my doggy-paddles to four strokes, then five, six, seven. What a vulnerable feeling to actually have my feet horizontal from my head, rather than firmly planted on the bottom of the pool! More practice led to learning how to use the breaststroke and control my breathing. Over the next year, I taught myself to tread water, edging deeper what seemed like a centimetre every time. Yes, I was getting more confident, could now swim 15 metre, but I was still only down the shallow end of the pool and the thought of going that final 10 metres was daunting.
Would I dare to follow God down the deep end? Would I face my fears? I was deluded in thinking I could swim down there at my age.
Part 2 next week! Thanks Mike.