A little girl stands on the edge of a swimming pool, a little tentative and yet excited at the same time. While she stands biting a nail, her daddy stands in the water, arms outstretched, urging her to jump in and swim to him. He’s only about 4 feet from the side of the pool. A big smile spreads across her face as she jumps in with a splash and begins paddling her arms and kicking her legs, heading toward her dad. He never takes his eyes off of her but slowly steps back a little farther without her really noticing. She keeps swimming and he steps back a little more. When she’s had enough and starts to splutter he grabs her just at the right moment and pulls her to himself. They hug, laughing. “Why did you keep moving back, Daddy?!” she asks still panting a little but hanging on with arms and legs wrapped around him. “I knew you could go farther. I was watching and I was right there in case you went under.” Even though it was a little disconcerting, it bolstered the little girl’s confidence in her ability to get to Him again the next time. She could do more than she thought she could. Her dad proved He was trustworthy.
I read an interesting supposition in a book the other day: that God answers prayers more readily for new followers/new believers because they are so fresh in their faith and need frequent reassurances to build trust. The author proposed that as we grow and mature God doesn’t answer as quickly because He wants us to seek Him, to press in harder, sometimes even reaching the point of desperation for Him. He knows we can go farther. What do you think? It kind of makes sense and I can say it seems that it’s been that way in my life, on my path. During the last 3-5 years I have felt at times like that little girl, paddling with all my might, looking ahead to my daddy who keeps stepping back. He still has his arms stretched out toward me but it takes me longer to get to Him and sometimes it seems just as I almost get there, he moves back a little farther.
It’s true I’ve seen God prove his faithfulness many times in my life and that makes it a little easier to keep on swimming. I know a little more securely that He’s always there, that He never takes his eyes off of me and that if I start to go under, He’ll reach out with his big strong arms and grab me just in time.
If you’re swimming, thinking you would have already reached your heavenly Father, that He would have answered your prayer by now, that He would have rescued you or made a way for You, don’t lose hope. He sees you. He loves you and knows you can go just a little farther.
(A special, special thanks to my friend Kelli for the illustration of the daddy and the daughter that she shared with me as I began this latest “swim lesson.” I don’t think there’s a more perfect illustration of how I felt at the time and how I feel so often now.)