by Anniel 2/19/17
My mother decided my older brother and I needed to learn to swim. When I was nine she enrolled us in classes at the local municipal swimming pool, but for some forgotten reason, I attended the first class without my brother. I totally freaked out. Put my face down and blow bubbles in the water? Are you nuts or something? Leave the safety of hanging onto the edge of the pool? Screaming time for sure.
The instructor/lifeguard must have hated me after that first lesson and I was never going back. My mom decided otherwise and dropped both my brother and me off for the second lesson with strict instructions to behave. I got in the water and was reminded, again, by the lifeguard to put my face down and blow bubbles. I began to cry. Then my brother said, “This is just what you’ve always done at Wasatch Plunge, don’t you remember?”
Well then, of course I did, back when I was three or four-years-old and we went swimming with our parents every week. I think maybe that was to make certain we all got a weekly bath since we had no running water.
Now the remembrance gave me courage and all fear left me as I pushed off the three-foot-deep end and swam confidently to the twelve-foot-deep end. I got out and ran to the end of the diving board to jump in and swim to the side. I seem to remember the anger emanating from the lifeguard. I don’t think he ever liked to see me swimming like a fish, and he would have happily let me drown.
When swimming after that I only had one scare. I was swimming in the deep end and for some reason thought,”What am I doing in this deep water?” As my fear grew I began helplessly flailing about and sinking. I finally caught the edge of the pool and gasped as I hung on. I gave myself a good lecture and resumed swimming.
Maybe our minds have built-in fears that we need to fight every day of our lives or we will be undone. How often have you encountered lies that would have limited you had you allowed them to? What do you fear most today? Are your fears based on real issues or on imagination?
All over America it seems that we are all swimming in frightening times and waters, in threats based on who we are and what we believe. Our cultural and political ties are under constant assault, making us afraid to speak up for our rights, for our heritage as Americans, for righteousness itself. For God.
And yet, and yet. . . The liars, the Sharks among us are being exposed every minute of every day. We may hate losing family and friends in the current feeding frenzy. But lose some of them we certainly will, because our nation is spiritually ill.
P.D. James writes truly when she says that people today,
“. . . have stopped believing in heaven, and they’re not afraid of hell.”
So how does anyone reach them? The ones who have decided that hatred and vulgarity in speech pass for thinking. The ones who think flashing their naked butts at the Trump Hotel, or that nudity of any sort makes an intelligent and persuasive political statement.
We face huge issues that transcend fear. Issues that require us to put on the whole armor of God as we enter the fray of battle. To be prepared for our part in the fight for freedom. That armor is described by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament Book of Ephesians, KJV, chapter 6, verses 11-18:
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication
in the spirit . . .
This is written in such a martial tone that it might frighten the weak snowflakes who live amongst us. If the tone were different, we might lose sight of the strength of our purpose, and that is to save what is salvageable in our society.
Earlier in Ephesians, Paul wrote beautifully of what our own hearts are to remain capable of during this double-sided battle:
Ephesians 4:31-32: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, together with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
I’m not even certain one has to believe in the Devil or be a confessing Christian to understand the battle we fight. But as I read about the armour required by Paul, I keep seeing that it covers the whole body. There are no chinks in the armour. And the armour is anchored in prayer.
If you can offer but a small prayer, it might give you greater help swimming in lies than you know.
God help us all.