Just today I was thinking about swimming and treading water. If one doesn’t know how to swim, or if they choose not to swim, then the instinct in the water is to tread. It’s amazing how, with continual gliding movements of our arms in the water, we can stay afloat. When I was a child, my cousins and I would have treading water contests to see who could tread the longest. There were never any winners; we all gave out about the same time, our strength fading fast.
As those childhood memories came to my mind, I thought to myself, that’s what we so often do in our spiritual worlds. We should be swimming in the peace of Jesus at all times; too often, we are treading in the water of our own attempts to get to shore and stand on solid ground. When we find ourselves in difficulties, why do we tell ourselves that we can survive and get to shore simply by treading water?
I love God’s Words to us in Isaiah when He was talking with the people of Israel. They were going through a terrible time. God says to them in Isaiah 43:1-3 “But now, Oh Israel, the Lord who created you says: ‘Do not be afraid for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up. The flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.’”
Those wonderful words are for us, today! God sees our troubles and He cares. He knows all about our treading attempts to save ourselves. He is always on the ready to be our lifeline; to pull us to shores of safety; to pull us into His arms of love. He is ready to put us on a solid path that leads to our good. Our own efforts, time and again, will surely lead to our destruction. Never forget, God is always on the ready to take us to shore. He is ready to swim with us, being our peace and strength in the water.
The choice is always ours. God never forces His guidance and care on us. We must reach out and grab hold of His lifesaving arms. Or — we can tread water.