Meet Buck. He’s a three-month-old Labrador Retriever. A water dog. Part of who he is and what he’s made to do is to enjoy the water. But even if his instincts tell him to dive right in, he has no experience, until now, with a deep pool of water. His gut tells him to go, but he’s afraid to keep going once those webbed paws feel no more slimy mud beneath them.
Just go, Buck. Paddle. Get that stick just beyond your reach. Today I didn’t have the desire to jump into a pair of waders and coax him into deeper waters which would give him a familiar focal point so that he would know that he can really swim, but I’d be willing to bet you a bunch of grins ‘n giggles that if I did he would’ve found the courage to keep going.
As I cleaned the yard of small sticks and deposited them into the pond one by one trying to get Buck to break free (sorry Dad!), I realized something. Isn’t Buck a perfect picture of how we often approach our spiritual journey? God made each of us to fulfill a specific purpose. But isn’t it frightening to leave the bank of familiarity and comfort? How often do we high-tail it back to “safety” and higher ground the moment we fear the water just might overcome us?
What if we are just like Buck realizing that we are experiencing something wonderful, but rather play it safe and grab the low-hanging fruit in shallow waters? What about that stick in the deep end? What if that’s the stick God really wants us to grab?
I want to thrive. I want to fulfill my God-given calling. I don’t want to live in the safety zone and never experience His wonder because I was afraid. I am thankful I’ve had some familiar faces who were willing to strap on a pair of waders and coax me into something fantastically frightening…my specific calling. The further out I go the more I realize I CAN swim. I was made for this. And it’s so wonderful.
God will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8). The water will not overtake you (Isaiah 43:2). What is He calling you to do today? What ministry has He set before you that might require taking steps further into the deep end? Or…what people has He placed in your path that might need a little coaxing and mentoring from a wiser, more experienced believer? Do you need to keep paddling? Do you need to grab a pair of waders?
Do not be afraid. He’s got you…and He has a plan for you, one that involves thriving and bearing much fruit (Jeremiah 17:8, John 15:8). May you experience His wonder as you learn to trust Him into deeper waters and go get that stick.