One of the most peaceful experiences of my life followed a period of great anxiety. This happened while Sheryl and I were vacationing in Mexico before we had Kyla and David.
My wife Sheryl is a certified scuba diver. One of her favorite activities if we go near an ocean (it also has to be warm) is to strap a large tank of oxygen to her back and swim under the water for long periods of time. She insisted that I would love it too.
Being an adventurous sort, I decided to try the beginner’s dive. This involved an hour of instruction in a classroom-type setting. They give you all of the hand signals you need to know while you are under the water – evidently, they can’t hear you while you’re screaming into your oxygen mask! Some of them are a little confusing. For instance, if everything is okay, you do not want to stick your thumb up. This is the sign that we need to swim to the surface. After the not-so-lengthy instruction, they strapped us up and shoved us into the water.
“I’m not getting enough air!” was my first thought. I had snorkeled before and assumed (falsely) that it wouldn’t be much different as far as the breathing went. As I began to thrash around in the water, my next thought was, “You are panicking.”
My third thought was, “They are not going to refund your money at this point.” My cheapness won the day and I began to take slow deep breaths. After a while, I began to feel okay about this new venture. Then we began to descend along the bottom of the ocean. We swam toward the wreckage of an old airplane which really is neat to swim around. Then we moved toward some coral reefs. The coral and the fish were simply amazing. It went from really frightening to really peaceful within a handful of minutes. As you swim along, you hear your own breathing slow and steady in your ears. It is very relaxing.
Sometimes in life, we have to move past our anxieties to really enjoy the peace that is at hand. Jesus Christ calls us to do this quite often. We may be experiencing some great worry but as we face it, we often find that we were more able than we realized. As Christians, we see that God gives us strength to move past our fear into life. God wants us to know this peace and I believe it comes at all levels. It can be personal. This peace may take place in our families. It sometimes takes place on a national scale. Peace is even God’s plan for the world. This Sunday, we will continue to look at the Sermon on the Mount and the particular passage that deals with worry: Matthew 6:19-34. Join us for worship and breathe deeply!
To read more from Sam, visit http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com.