For two straight weeks, the Level 1 swimmers splashed around in the gently sloping pool entry, teasing the deeper waters while the shallow end never left their reach. They followed their teacher, sputtered around, and played some game that looked like “Red Light, Green Light” but wasn’t.
After a few days of this, as the happy swimmers sloshed out of the water after their session, I heard another watching family member comment, “I couldn’t tell they made any progress.” They were still in the shallowest of the shallow end. They still mostly ran through the water instead of swimming in it.
As Christians, we know we will never fully “arrive” or reach some level of perfection in this life. We know about original sin and man’s depravity and the impossibility of earning God’s favor.
But like the soldiers and pilgrims that we are called to be, we aim higher than we are now. We try harder to read more, pray more, love more, complain less, worry less, sleep in less. We memorize and journal and reach out. We try. We try really hard.
And sometimes we get tired of it all. We already knew we fall short of perfection, yes. But what can be so terribly frustrating is that it seems like we’re no closer to reaching some semblance of it than we were yesterday. Or the day before. Or a year ago.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).
These promises still stand true for us. We know He is still working in our hearts, even when we can’t see it. Even when we don’t think anyone can see it.
Even when we’re still splashing in the shallow end.
One night my Level 1 swimmer brother came into my room. “You know bobs—putting your head underwater?” he asked. “It’s getting easier.” He grinned. “Today I was actually the example.”
We’re not there yet, no. And we won’t be tomorrow. But He is still working in and through us. The God who sees our hearts sees what He is doing in them, even on those days we can’t see it ourselves.
And as we dive into deeper and deeper waters, we will forget about that shallow beginning.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/39734516@N00/29177859445″>100 Days of Summer #81 – Life Preserver</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>