Dive In

Posted by admin on December 31, 2011 under Encouraging Words | Read the First Comment

The paralysis of analysis and downright fear gripped poor little Sigmund as he stared into the deep.  His toes curled in anxiety.  Dad wanted him to dive in, but he couldn’t.  What if he drowned? 

Suddenly someone bumped Siggy off the pier!   There was a splash, then he bobbed up like a cork.  Wow!  With no more thought than a fish, he had become an enthusiastic diver.

I love the movie What About Bob? in which a zany neurotic patient named Bob creates chaos in the life of his psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist loses his mind, while Bob survives and thrives.  His new-found joy in living endears him to everyone but Sigmund’s dad.  Siggy follows Bob’s lead, taking risks and raising a ruckus.  Life will never be the same.

Every New Year I hang a new calendar in my studio.  The old calendar, scribbled with birthdays, deaths, music lessons, doctor appointments, and vacation dates, I save as a kind of ship’s log, a travel map through time.  I wonder what occasions will mark the new year.   This is a comfortable moment in my life.  I am well, my family is well.  I have everything I need.  Can’t I just stay here?  But Time ignores my anxiety and pushes me over the edge.

When I was young, I could not imagine 2012.  How very old I would be!  Now it has come; I see the gray hair, but I am still me.  The Lord has put a great  joy of  life into my heart.  Each New Year brings me closer to Heaven; as Billy Graham says, I am “nearing home.”   Yet I hope to take some more risks, raise a ruckus, and dive into the unknown in 2012.

St. Paul said it well:  “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)  He wrote this from prison in A. D. 61-62.  For him, the present was not comfortable; he had “suffered the loss of all things.”  He would be executed for his faith in Christ.   But even in chains his resolution was firm.  “This one thing I do,” he said, “forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. .  . . I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Phil. 3:13b-14 and Phil. 4:13) 

My friend and spiritual counselor Dr. Bill Gaultierre faced a quarter-mile swim in the chilly Pacific Ocean with these thoughts:  “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength . . . I can die through Christ who gives me strength . . .  I can overcome my fear through Christ who gives me strength . . . I can swim in this ocean through Christ who gives me strength . . . ” (from his book You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke )  And he did!*

The future laps at our feet.   Our Coach urges us on.  He is right there, holding up the prize.  We cannot stay where we are, so we make the leap of faith.  By His grace, we will not sink but reach the other side.  His strong arm will lift us out, and we will see His smile.   We will hear Him say, “Well done,” as we enter eternal life.  

Time is the friend of every pilgrim. 

So, dear friends, young and old,  “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you . . . I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:3-4, 6) 

We too can dive in to face our fears with Jesus.  God has brought us this far, He is with us now, and He is in every tomorrow.  He is our Hope and our Prize. 

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Time.  Into Your hands, Father, I commit my life.  Thank You for forgiving and redeeming my past.  Thank You for speaking to me right now, encouraging me by Your Spirit.  Thank You for giving my life meaning and purpose.  My goal is to love You, to serve You, to please You in the coming year.  I can do everything in Your strength, Jesus, one moment at a time.  You will never leave me or forsake me.  I trust You to complete Your work in my life.  Be glorified in me, Lord Jesus, and fill me anew with Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’  precious name I pray, Amen.

A song for you from the musical Pilgrim’s Progress:

      1. Kids Sing Pilgrims Gotta Progress

* Dr. Bill’s website http://www.soulshepherding.org/

  • Earlene Fowler said,

    Wonderful, wise words for the New Year. Thank you for your insights and your gifts. It was just what I needed to hear. Love to you, my friend.