“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6 KJV
I have a confession to make… for some reason this summer, although we’ve spent at least one day a week at the pool, I have had a fear of swimming in the deep end. Yes, I, a grown woman, was afraid of swimming in the deep end of a pool. It’s taken me all summer long to really work through it to be honest. The first few times we went swimming I wouldn’t go down there at all. But my son, a fish, was desperate to jump off the diving board, so I faced my fear and clung to a swim noodle for dear life. All the while ACTING calm and not afraid. But inside I was trembling! And all I could think about was the eight & a half feet of water beneath me! Gradually, as I became more comfortable I started venturing out without the noodle. at times, showing off. False bravado to hide the true fear quaking within me. Now lately, my FOUR-YEAR-OLD has been jumping off the diving board with her little life vest on! I couldn’t let her show me up! So the first time I jumped off the diving board I held her hand. Not to give her support, but for me! She had the flotation device strapped to her body, not me! What if I ran out of breath? What if I couldn’t get to the top fast enough? What if…(gasp)… I got water up my nose! Now, through all this, you must keep in mind, I AM a strong swimmer. I always have been. But, I’d forgotten that. No… I hadn’t forgotten it, I was failing to remember it. I was failing to hold onto it, to believe it. I was allowing the Enemy to convince me that I couldn’t swim still. That I wasn’t going to be able to keep my head above the water and keep breathing. Thank GOD, he never gets to win!!!
So now we come to today. When I was jumping off the diving board with all those kids today, NOT holding my four-year-old’s hand for security OR safety, I did a pencil dive and actually TOUCHED the bottom of the pool with my feet! I have to admit, a loud “I TOUCHED THE BOTTOM!” did escape from my lips and betray a bit of my false bravado. But I didn’t care, because I had done it! I had faced my fear of the depth of water, held my breath, closed my eyes tightly, and took my leap of faith into that water, just to see if I could do it. AND I DID!
Now, what does this have to do with God? Why is this story in a devotional? God’s love is an ocean, with a depth that is so much deeper than anyone could EVER even imagine let alone touch the bottom. And all summer long His goodness and mercy have been hunting me down trying to catch me and bless me! But honestly, I’ve been afraid of them! I’ve gotten comfortable in my former bondage. I’ve been in it for the last 11 years, I know how to breathe there, I know how to be in that place of slavery. Have I cried out over and over for God to save me from this situation? Of course I have! Is God trying to get me to leave Egypt with Him right now? You betcha He is! Was I ready to go before? Apparently not. I wasn’t trusting Him, His goodness. And it took all summer for Him to finally chase me long enough to wear me out enough to get me to stop and let Him wash over me with His truth. He has deep pockets. Now, that’s a phrase that I’ve been saying over and over and over for the last 2 years… and I THOUGHT I believed it, until right now. I DID believe that God has deep pockets, and that they were filled with all kinds of great treats for His Beloved children. But I was not believing that I was one of those children that He was willing to treat with big gifts.
I’ve learned that God’s grace is abounding and full of mercy and forgiveness. More than even makes sense! But yet there it is. In the twenty-third Psalm verse six we read “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:” (KJV) The word translated as “follow” is special, critical, in understanding God’s goodness and mercy. In the original Hebrew text the word was pronounced “raw-daf” and according to Strong’s this same word has also been translated (in the New American Standard Bible) as hunt, follow, chase, persecute, and my personal favorite and the translators favorite, pursue! Raw-daf has been translated as some form or another of pursue, ONE HUNDRED SEVEN TIMES!!! THAT is what my summer, thus far, has been about! God pursuing me with His blessings! WHY HAVE I BEEN HIDING FROM THEM????? Can someone please tell me why in the world I have been afraid of God’s blessings??? Why I haven’t trusted that they would, or that they even could be good blessings? I’ve believed and trusted that He has plenty of good things in store for me… in the future. But, not just yet. Not right now. Not TODAY. But He does have good things for me TODAY! Lots of them! They’ve been building up all summer long, I just kept hiding under an umbrella of fear, keeping them from showering down over me like rain.
Well, Lord. I’m folding up the umbrella. I’m putting it… no, I’m throwing it away! Pour it out Lord! You no longer have to hunt me down with Your blessings, I’m going to stop running, stop hiding, stop being afraid to believe that You have good things planned out for me for TODAY! Not just my future, but for my TODAY! I am going for a swim in Your goodness, and search for that treasure that You have hidden just for me today. I am going to dig into your Word daily to find the wisdom and grace and love that you have buried there for me to find today. I will seek You with all my heart each and every day, because Your Word tells us that when we seek, we WILL find! And when we knock the door with be opened unto us. Lord I’m knocking on the door of tremendous blessing today, expecting it to open today. Lord, by knocking, I have asked for the doors leading to tremendous blessings to be opened, and again Your Word says that when we ask we WILL receive. These are Your promises Lord. And You. don’t. lie.