Going Paddling

I used to love “going paddling” in the Firth of Clyde before it connects with the Irish Sea. Each summer, Evelyn and I would take our kids down to the beach to build sandcastles, look for shells, and “go paddling” in the water.

Only adults went paddling – usually adult men. They went down to the shore with their children, took off their shoes and socks, rolled up their trousers to above the knees, and sometimes tied a clean handkerchief like a bandana to their heads. They paddled along the shore line, knee deep in the water, looking after their swim-suited children who were swimming, playing, and laughing in the sea. The purpose of the beach paddler was to keep their children from going too far out.

I loved it and often wish each summer for those halcyon days to return. I enjoyed watching my kids play, and of being their protector from the mighty sea. Ezekiel 47:4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist.

Today’s verse from Ezekiel reminds me of those days, but it’s also a picture of the depths of faith that we each have in God. I remember an old pastor giving a tremendously simple sermon on this passage, in which he challenged the whole congregation to review their relationship with God. “Have you a faith that is ankle deep, knee deep, waist high, or over your heads? Are you willing to trust God completely, or just a little bit at a time?” It was a great sermon and one that I have cherished in my heart for decades.

So, I guess the message for us all this morning is this: are we prepared to be deeply faithful to God and surrender ourselves to Jesus, or are we still inclined to just “go paddling” on the shore line of commitment?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know what we face this week, what fears we have, and what our faith commitment is to You. Help us to reach out to You completely, so that when we are confronted with hard choices and serious decisions, the depth of our faith will enable us to take the right action. Thank You for Your protection and guidance, Your counsel and presence with us each day. In Your Holy Name, we faithfully pray. Amen.

John Stuart traqair@aol.com

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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