Treading Water

11:48 AMHeather

This summer, I've watched very little news.  I have to say--my quality of life feels somehow improved.  Because I'm happily skipping through my days, blissfully unaware of all the bad and the crimes and the wars out there.  Yet, somehow relying on the Facebook feed and an occasional glance at my home page, I became aware of a miraculous story of survival.  

Regarding this man.

Did y'all hear about him?  He was boating in Gulf of Mexico down off the Florida coast, and as a storm approached, he found himself in the water.  Without a life vest.  So, he did the only thing he knew to do.  

He started to tread water.  

Which he did for 22 hours before he was rescued by a family who were out boating.

22 hours, y'all.  Treading water.  Bloggy friends, that's some hard work there.  His wife calls it a miracle.  And I totally agree.

This whole story made me think.  Am I the only one who sometimes finds myself simply treading water?  I'm stuck, in the ocean of circumstances beyond my control.  And, I'm in survival mode.  Forget thriving.  Or making progress by taking a swim.  Because all I can do is tread water.  And it's exhausting.  

What about you?  Are in a season of parenting where you just don't feel you're making progress?  Perhaps you are raising teenagers who seem to know better than you.  Or toddlers who think the same thing.  I know one sweet lady who is treading water through a painful divorce.  Another friend is still treading water through a child's suicide attempt and battle with depression.  You see, we are sometimes just sailing along through life, and suddenly a storm approaches.  And we find ourselves stuck in the ocean treading water.

It's so easy to get discouraged there.  It's so easy to think we've missed it--that abundant life we think we should have.  All sunshine and unicorns and rainbows.  

But the truth I am learning is that most believers, at one time or another (or multiple times!), find themselves in a season of treading water.  We are in good company, in fact.  You know, Israelites wandering for forty years--just treading water.  I'm sure they were way over it.  Ready to enter that promised land.  Abraham and Sarah.  Treading water.  When was that promised son going to come along?  How about those 400 years of silence for the Israelites during the time between the Old Testament and the New Testament?  Messiah?  Um, sure.  That will happen, like NEVER.  We're just treading water here.  

Lest we beat ourselves up during these treading water seasons of life, I have a word for you today.  It's something I needed to hear.  And every time I think of it, it encourages me as I tread water.

   He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”  Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
Luke 5:3-6

For a fishermen, their very livelihood, of course, depends on catching fish.  There they had been, all night down.  Working hard.  Treading water.  Catching NOTHING.

Yet God had not abandoned them.  Their rescue was coming.  In due time.  In God's time.  At the very right moment, these men cast their nets.  And lo and behold, they caught such a huge number of fish that their nets began to break.

Have you been casting your nets with nothing to show for it?  Waiting for rescue?  Treading water?

Just as God's promises were true then,they are true now.  Rescue is coming.  But, unlike that man treading water in the Gulf of Mexico, we who follow Christ are NOT left without a life preserver.

 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the 
day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.  
 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18:16-19

My dear bloggy friend, can I just remind you (and myself) today, as you tread water, merely surviving, that God takes delight in you?  He hears you.  He is your life preserver.  He will reach down and draw you out of these deep waters.  He will cause your nets to be filled to overflowing, as you wait for His promises.  He will defeat your enemies.  In fact, we can overwhelmingly conquer through Christ Jesus who loved us (Romans 8).  Our enemy has been defeated.  Our victory is secure.  Our rescue is imminent.  

So there, in the deep waters of life, keep treading water.  Cling to that life preserver you have.  It will sustain you.  Cling to that Vine.  For He is our life.  He is our deliverer.  He is our rescuer!  The storms will pass.  The sky will clear.  You won't always be treading water.  It's going to be okay.  You can do it. And better days lie ahead.  In fact, a whole eternity of them.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 

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