Been having an interesting couple of days. In the midst of some interesting days, I stepped into the men's group that I attend weekly on Thursday mornings. We have been going through a book my Larry Crabb called "The Silence of Adam." It's a heavy-hitting book that is not for the faint of heart. It's specifically geared for men and there have been some great conversations around the subject matter within the book.
I found it interesting that the chapter for this week was on darkness. The author laid out the fact that God spoke into the darkness and brought light to it. As His creation, we are called to do similarly, speaking light into dark places. The premise of the book is that men, specifically, don't always speak into places where they should, case in point was the account of the fall in Genesis 3.
One of the main points of the chapter was about the need to acknowledge our powerlessness and confusion in certain situations. We can't sit back and pretend that we can actually control a situation which is completely out of our hands. At the same time, we can't just run to the places that feel safe because that is not always where we are called to.
As we talked, I remembered back when I was in college. I worked for my hometown with the public works department during the summers and made friends with many of the people who worked at the Town Hall. During the course of one summer, I got into a conversation about the need for the lifeguards at the town beaches to be "tested" with some planted "drowners." I was asked to be one of those drowners.
So, one day, I went to the beach and planned my strategy to fake "drowning" out in the water. It was somewhat humorous because I went to school with a bunch of the people who were lifeguarding. Anyway, at the first beach, I went out a ways and began to flail around. I realized that it wasn't easy to fake drowning, it was a workout, especially considering that the lifeguards didn't even notice me. Not a good thing. So, in my effort to provide some training, I actually began to struggle.
Thankfully, the second beach was not as big of a deal. The guy who was guarding at the time was a few years ahead of me in school and I think he realized what was going on once he recognized me. I continued to play the "drowner" once he got to me and started bringing me to shore. I remember him looking at me with some annoyance at one point and saying, "You know, you could help paddle to shore." I got a good laugh out of that.
Why do I share all that? I remember hearing over and over again that when you are struggling in the water and someone comes to save you, it's essential to stop flailing around in order for the person to help you. Of course, the natural thing for us to do is to flail around in a panic, but that's also the worst thing that we can do. When help comes, when someone comes to save us, we need to let go and just rest in the person who has come to save us. We shouldn't have to do anything but remain calm.
As I thought about our discussion this morning, I was reminded of the many times in life that I encountered difficult situations, situations that were way beyond my control. Many of those times, I panicked and began to flail around. I didn't know how I was going to get out of where I was and flailing seemed like the best response. But I really needed to wait on God and then rest in his arms. The right thing to do didn't seem like the right thing to do.
Rarely in life do we encounter situations that we can be 100% prepared for. We are faced with uncertainty often and no amount of planning can circumvent those challenging situations that we will face. In those encounters and situations, we need to keep our wits about us, we need to stop flailing around. We need to rest in the arms of the One who can hold us and save us.
We might feel like we're drowning in water, in darkness, in something else, but we are watched by One who cares for us. All we need to do is stop flailing and rest. Much easier said than done, but it's only for our benefit in the long run. In this life and in this world we will encounter and face trouble, but we have the chance to know the One who has overcome the world. When I find myself drowning, I know whose arms I can find myself in if I would just stop flailing. How about you?