We have some summer goals for our family. One of those goals was to take the swimmies off for our boys and get them swimming on their own.
I am happy to say that they have passed swimming tests and are excited about the water. Mom, on the other hand, is a nervous wreck!
It has caused us to keep constant eyes on them on the water. While we watched them with swimmies, it seems even more constant now.
The whole process made me think about keeping afloat in other situations.
It’s not acceptable for an adult to enter a public pool sporting children swimmies. At some point, we all have to learn to stop relying on stylish arm flotation devices and actually learn to tread in water. If we are going to last in deep water, we must learn to swim.
I have a theory that at the point of conversion, God often equips people with spiritual swimmies.
Just stay with me for a moment.
Knowing that the first season of Christianity can be filled with challenges, he helps us by keeping us afloat.
What are these spiritual swimmies?
You get spiritual goosebumps during every worship service you attend. You feel like each sermon your preacher delivers was meant specifically for you. Every time you open up your Bible, the text leaps off the page and intersects your life.
They’re spiritual swimmies, and without them, some of us wouldn’t stay above water.
But you can’t rely on those swimmies all your life. Sometimes, God slides them off of your arms so that you are forced to swim.
Deep Calls to Deep
The psalmist was dealing with the same dynamic. He remembered the time when he was home. He was in Jordan, near the temple, and worshiping God was easy. Following him was simple. Now, he is far removed from those comforts. The swimmies are officially off, and God’s waves are pounding so fast and furious that he can barely breathe.
6 I am deeply depressed;
therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan
and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls;
all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.
8 The Lord will send His faithful love by day;
His song will be with me in the night-
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God, my rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why must I go about in sorrow
because of the enemy’s oppression?”
10 My adversaries taunt me,
as if crushing my bones,
while all day long they say to me,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God. -Psalm 42:6-11
Have you ever been in that moment in your life?
Have you ever felt like you can barely catch your breath because as soon as you are through one wave, another one comes even larger than the one before? Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you (v. 9)? Have you ever felt so low that you began to wonder where God was (v. 10)?
We have all been there, but the Psalmist follows his questions with a curious question:
“Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?” (v. 11).
Does’t it seem obvious? He is in unfamiliar places with unfortunate circumstances, and it appears, that God is sending trying times his way. There seems to be plenty of reasons for him to be depressed.
I don’t think he is asking where his depression is coming from. I think he is stating, “Though all these circumstances are coming my way, how in the world could I be depressed? I have put my hope in the one true God. I will praise him for he is my Savior and my God” (v. 11).
Today, don’t try to act like the waves aren’t there.
They are, and there are probably some more behind the ones you are getting pounded with right now.
But hope in God.
Still praise him.
He is your Savior, he is your God, and when the swimmies come off, we often see those that are still floating are those that are still worshiping.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.