I have heard a number of times that it can be very dangerous to approach someone who is drowning. Apparently they struggle and fight and in the process can injure their rescuer or even push them under water. The survival instinct kicks in and they don't even know what they are doing.
I thought about this the other day when I was listening to the song "By Your Side" by Tenth Avenue North. There are some pretty serious lyrics in the song that can really send me thinking - things like "why are you trying to earn grace" and "why are you still searching as if I'm not enough" (I mean, whoa, both of those are talking directly to me) - but it is the chorus that recently has caught my attention:
And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
I suspect that I probably fight God's hands at least as often as I reach out to hold them. In times of struggle, or confusion, or fear, a survival instinct kicks in. I thrash about. I desperately search for something to grab hold of. Like a drowning victim, rather than seeing the hands of my rescuer and relaxing and letting myself be saved, I fight.
Thankfully, it isn't possible to push God under, or to hurt Him in the struggle. God walks on the water that I am drowning in. And despite my struggling, His hands reach out and lift me up. Although I say that I know that God is by my side and there for me at all times, although I say that I know that He will always answer my calls for help, in those times I still fight the hands that are holding me. Rather than remembering that my Saviour is there, I forget. Sometimes along the way I remember the way out. But often it is not until someone reminds me, or I just can't fight any longer and give in, that I stop fighting.
I know some people that go through life not just saying that God is there for them, but living it and knowing it, every single second. It is not that bad things do not happen to them, or that they do not struggle, it is that even in the midst of those times they do not thrash about - they calmly reach out. I long for that. I feel that I have come a long way, but sometimes I am like Peter.
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
Matthew 14:28-31 (NIV)
That is me. I test like Peter - "if it's really you God, then . . . ." When I hear the answer, I can feel so brave and confident and full of faith that I step out of the boat and begin to walk towards Jesus. But, when it gets scary out there I doubt and begin to sink.
So, all this just for me to admit to myself (and psuedo-publicly to those who read these posts) that I still have a long way to go. And it is not that God has anything to show me, or to prove to me - He has already done all of that. This is on me. I'll keep on working at it.