Deep Waters

Summer is over. A season spent outdoors with moments of swimming and enjoying the water. Do you remember when your kids first entered the pool? Maybe it was just to splash as a baby. How much paraphernalia did you put on them? Floaties, pool noodles, rafts, and anything else that would protect them and keep them safe.

Their next stage of progression in learning to swim consisted of you walking beside them in the pool or holding them in your arms to keep them afloat and ensure they were safe while they dreamed of jumping in the deep end.

Now imagine that pool is your life. We tiptoe into the waters and danger abounds, but God is right there to rush to our rescue. We attempt to branch out and try a few strokes, but he is walking right beside us making sure we are safe. Usually, we’re just like our children: defiant, adventurous, determined to do it on our own until we sink to the bottom and need to be nabbed by the arm and pulled to the surface. It’s a lesson in trust and reliance. 

We forced the sunscreen routine on them, lathering it all over every speck of skin. We made them stand at attention with arms outstretched as we attached their floaties. We’ve all tried to do the summer protection routine on toddlers who did not want any part of it—an exercise in creativity to protect the squirming child.

Well, that scenario is indicative of us. Adverse to God’s protecting hand, we are determined to do it on our own. We think we’re ready to jump off the diving board into the deep end when we really need to sit on the step and splash in the water.

I’ve watched my nephew the past few years advance from the raft for babies to a life jacket to floaties to the shallow end to now frolicking all over the pool. He’s free to test his swimming strength by diving for toys or race across the surface as we time his speed. At each stage he felt safe because some member of the family was always nearby. 

When I moved to California after college graduation to a remote location in the desert, I didn’t know anyone. It was a huge independence move. Was I ready to swim from the safe confines of the shallow end to the waters that were over my head? Was I strong enough? Wise enough? Skilled enough? I closed my eyes and took the plunge.

God’s promise in Isaiah 43 carried me through that scary, yet exciting, time. “When you pass through deep waters I will be with you.” He is our pool noodle, floaties, and father—nearby and ready to rescue us if we disappear beneath the surface.

When the water becomes a little scary or we think we know it all, we must ask God to join us in the pool. Whether it’s our floaties season, shallow-end season, or full-fledged swimming, God keeps us safe and helps us be brave. 

Shelley Pulliam

About Shelley Pulliam

Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale.