When I was about five years old, my mom and dad wanted me to have swimming lessons.
Let me rephrase that…my DAD wanted me to have swimming lessons. My mother was (and still is) terrified of the water. Because of a childhood incident, she never learned how to swim. My dad? He grew up by the water, swimming in the surf of the Pacific Ocean practically from the time he could walk!
Anyway, Dad overruled Mom’s fears on this one – and I found myself at the local community pool for lessons.
I did quite well.
I listened, I obeyed all the rules – I was a good girl, and a perfectionist.
Until, this one particular day.
You see, the pool was divided into lanes. And each lane had a teacher, and a specific set of skills to learn. When you mastered the skills for that lane, you "graduated" to the next lane.
So, having graduated from Lane B into Lane C, I was eager to complete my training.
"OK, boys and girls," the new teacher barked out. He was a "he," and he was mean. He had "drill sergeant" written all over him. He might as well have said, "OK, you bratty little pool rats…"
The first thing he wanted us to do was swim across the ENTIRE pool from one end of the lane to the other.
Well, my swimming skills were pretty good – but I had never learned how to "breathe" while swimming. And in Lane C, you couldn’t touch the bottom.
I knew this, and I was terrified.
When it came my turn, I started out – thinking that maybe I could just swim REALLY FAST and make it to the other side on one breath.
About 20 feet out, I stopped for air, and started to struggle.
I’m not going to tell you what the kindly "commandant" started yelling. Frankly, I don’t really remember – the brain has a way of blanking out trauma. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t kind.
He finally rescued me, and pulled me back to the side of the pool. I tried to explain to him that I had never learned how to breathe – he told me I was lying, and just not trying hard enough.
"You hold on to the side of the pool until you decide to try," he barked.
I began sobbing.
And then I saw something I will NEVER forget. A sweet, kindly woman (my mom) turned into a swooping, avenging eagle. She practically flew herself over to the side of the pool, and yelled out to my instructor to come over to talk to her.
She gave him the biggest "dressing down" I have ever witnessed in my life. She was self-contained, but the fire in her eyes was a sight to behold!
Every time Mr. Congeniality started to protest, my mom shut him down – "I’m not finished yet, sir."
There was some discussion (argument) between the instructors of Lane B and Lane C. Miss B claiming that she wasn’t supposed to teach "breathing," and Mr. C saying that he wasn’t either.
This drivel was halted by my mother. She informed Miss B that she would indeed teach me how to "breathe" – and she would take extra time after class to do so. And you, Mr. C, will "never again" talk to my daughter like that or I will report you.
"Do we all understand each other here?"
Like errant schoolchildren, both instructors acquiesced to the power and authority that was my mom – "She Who Must Be Obeyed" – and I was treated VERY kindly after that.
I’ll never quite forget how it felt when my mom came to my rescue – when she defended me, when she fought for me.
It’s the same with the Lord.
Sometimes we just don’t have the skills to advance. Sometimes we don’t have the knowledge. Sometimes we find ourselves "out in the deep end" where we can’t touch, and we panic.
And Mr. Lane C himself, our hateful and cruel enemy, is right there to harangue us. To belittle us, to shame us, to shout us down – to take us out of the action, and to tell us to "hang on to the side of the pool" where you belong.
Do you see what I see? A swooping, avenging EAGLE! The Lord Himself!
He puts that old devil in his place. He fights for us, defends us – He tells that devil that he is NOT ALLOWED to talk to His children that way.
"Do we understand each other here?"
And the enemy must acquiesce to the power and authority of our Savior.
Then the Lord turns to us, and teaches us what we need to know with patience and longsuffering – with love.
"Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:29)
Hmmm…with Him by my side, I might just try swimming in the "deep end!"
BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”