My youngest son does not have much fear. He’s a leap before you look kind of guy. When he was 2 years old and my oldest son was 4, I spent the summer trying to coax my 4-year-old son to jump off the edge of the pool into my arms. Once while trying to convince him he could trust me, my 2-year-old shed his water wings and jumped in. He sunk like a rock. Feeling the splash, I looked down to see the 2-year-old sitting on the bottom of the pool, wide eyes asking now what? and an open-mouthed grin on his face. He made no attempt to kick his way toward the surface or even to hold his breath. Unfortunately, this scenario replayed itself several times that summer. I could not convince my older son to plunge in as I continued to yank my fearless young son off the bottom of the pool.
Describing my frustration to a friend, I recognized those two extremes in myself. I tend to act like my 2-year-old, plunging into things without looking to the Word for guidance. I shed the safety of other believers’ wisdom and finally look up to God when I’m out of air and sitting on the bottom. But there have also been plenty of situations where God is holding out His arms encouraging me to fall into them as I allow fear to keep me on the edge of the pool. My eyes are not on my Father, but focused on the chasm and the water between us.
The next summer was different. My older son learned to trust me and began to enjoy the water. My youngest son found value in holding his breath before jumping and kicking his way to the surface. And my husband and I kept our eyes focused on our Father, sought biblical guidance from other believers, and leaped into the mission field with our Father’s arms around us.