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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Treading Water

I am not at ease in the water. 

It took me two weeks to trust the swimming instructor, who assured me that it was safe to take both feet off the bottom of the pool, especially when I was still clinging to the floatation device!  I did eventually learn to swim, and even swim sometimes recreationally and for exercise, but water will never be a medium in which I am relaxed.

So. Treading water. It is supposed to be a relaxing way to bob along and catch your breath, renewing your strength for the next spurt of swimming. Not for me. I just don’t quite believe that if I stop flailing energetically I will remain afloat.

Just before Jesus returned to heaven, he told his friends to go back into Jerusalem and wait until he sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, he told them, would give them the power to go out and show and tell others about the Kingdom of God. The Spirit within them would be a miracle-working power who would draw non-believers’ attention to Jesus. 

So they waited. They tread water. Not desperately trying to stay afloat, but thoughtfully, prayerfully. They all prayed together – about 120 of them – and then Peter stood up and suggested they find a replacement for Judas Iscariot, someone who had been with them, in the outer circle, for the three years of Jesus’ public ministry. They prayed, suggested two men, and then drew lots.

They trusted that God was in the drawing of the lots. Matthias was chosen. 

They continued to tread water, waiting. 

I wonder if any of them felt slightly desperate. I wonder if any of them flailed and kicked, or if they all just rested in prayer, trusting that Jesus would do something soon. They hadn’t a clue what he would do. But already they knew him well enough to trust he would do something. He said he would, and he would.

There are unfulfilled promises in my life, as in everyone’s. Lord, help me today, to tread water peacefully. Not hopelessly. Not panic-stricken. But quietly, prayerfully, expectantly.

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