Life can be scary when we feel like we're losing control, but when we confidently leap into the arms of God the Father we can trust that He will always catch us and direct us to safety.
There are two types of swimmers at a pool: those who test the water with their toes before they slowly creep in, and those who dive headfirst in the second they catch sight of it. The fear expressed by the first is not of the water, but more-so of losing the comfort and control of our bodies. This example is similar to the idea of growing in our faith. Unfortunately, most of us have a “test the water” kind of faith. Now, this isn’t all bad - the desire to get into the pool and experience all its depths is still present. The danger in this mindset is that this “test the water” faith is less of a precautionary action and more of one centered in the fear of not being in control. The question can then be posed to us: are we better off in control? Long story short, the answer is no.
Testing the Water
As a person who has consistently struggled with wanting to be in control of every aspect of my life, the idea of loosening my grip and allowing God to direct my life has been tough for me to accept. In my heart, and maybe in many of yours, I know in faith and from experience that God’s plan is divine and far superior to mine. However, in practice it’s harder to actually allow His plan to come to fruition over mine. Control is made harder when that plan from God is a little blurry in our vision - it’s hard to trust a plan you don’t exactly know, right? It’s the same reason the “test the water” swimmer doesn’t dive in the pool: fear of the unknown.
As a kid, my dad used to stand in the pool and tell me to jump in. Overwhelmed with the fear of drowning, I wanted him to just carry me in while holding me tightly. My dad knew that wasn’t an option and said, “Trust me, I will catch you as soon as you hit the water.” A simple phrase that instilled the abundant confidence I needed to let go and jump. Much like this confidence that was instilled in me by my father, the cure to our vices of control and fear of the unknown is a child-like trust and love of the heavenly Father. I had this confidence in my father because of the time we spent together and the love that was shared between the two of us. How then do we develop this same confidence in God the Father? The simple answer is that we immerse ourselves in ceaseless prayer. This will allow us to have the gentle, loving identity of the Father revealed to us piece by piece. Through this revelation we will slowly begin to take to heart the word of Paul to the Romans:
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
To immerse ourselves in ceaseless prayer, we must reflect on how we spend our time throughout the day. There is value in offering up our tasks and activities throughout the day - this is a beautiful way to be constantly in prayer. However, although there is beauty here, this alone will not suffice. There is a necessity in our hearts to have quiet, contemplative time with our Lord in prayer. This deep, silent prayer allows us to open our hearts to God and to allow Him to enter ours. Here is where we can give God an opportunity to inspire new love and confidence in Him through the gentle movings of our hearts.
The Big Jump
Letting go of our control and trusting that the Father will always catch us is bound to be terrifying for each one of us. Our thoughts will be filled with hypotheticals of what could happen if we took that last step and jumped in head first. I imagine what had to be going through Peter’s mind when Christ commanded him in the water. We see in that story that when Peter focused on Christ he was able to join Christ and walk on the water. Contrarily, when he focused on the waves, wind, and the other surroundings he found himself filled with fear and sinking into the sea. When we focus on what’s going on around us we are bound to be filled with fear and lose confidence in God. We must focus on the tender gaze of the Father and see His hand reaching out through the storm to lead us to safety. Like my father did for me as a child, when we grow in a deeper intimacy with the Father we allow him to invite us into the water. We can confidently leap into His arms knowing that he will catch us each and every time.