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The Plunge

During his college years, my brother Eric worked summers as a lifeguard and swim instructor at our city beach on Lake Huron. Swim lessons had their predictable pattern—young children overcoming their fear of the water and gradually learning to float and then, finally, to swim. Except for Bert. As his classmates grew in confidence, Bert held back in fear. On the last day of the class, Eric said, “Bert, you’re going to learn to swim today, whether you like it or not, and you’re not getting out of the water until you like it.” Bert tried hurriedly to wade away, but Eric picked up his reluctant student and heaved him into deeper water. Bert thrashed around a bit and then, putting together everything he’d heretofore learned but not trusted, he made his way to safety. Bert learned to swim that day. And he liked it.

For some of us, the thought of entrusting our life to Jesus’ atoning work on the cross can be frightening. I speak from experience, for there was a time when I saw many of my friends and acquaintances come to faith in Christ and rejoicing in new life in Him. Though I wanted for myself the kind of peace, joy, and confidence burgeoning from within them, and though I deeply desired a close relationship with God, I was too terrified to trust in His plan of salvation. What if Jesus wasn’t who He said He was and my faith were to be misplaced? What judgement would await me? Every new objection, challenge and doubt sent me scurrying in fear, not to any plausible alternative, but to the “safety” of indecision and noncommitment. Over time, I found myself sinking while believers were swimming. Their lives bore witness to the life of Christ in them, and if anything, I was drifting in the wrong direction. By God’s grace, His Spirit stirred in me again, and this time I said “yes” to Christ Jesus. I learned to trust that day. And I liked it.

Forty-something years later, we still chuckle at the story of Bert. And I have to wonder, did Bert’s sink-or-swim encounter that one day ever served to save his life? Mine did. The same is true for all who take the plunge—all who, in faith, entrust their life to Christ.

The Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:7-8)

Father, thank You for Your gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. Your prophets foretold Him, His disciples suffered for Him, and Your Spirit still bears witness to Him in and through Your people. Strengthen me to entrust my life entirely to Him today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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