Growing up, my dad had a boat. Nothing was better than sitting close to the front of the boat while it jetted across the big wakes. I loved it. I wasn’t afraid. Then one summer someone almost drove our boat full of family and friends straight into the side of a rock face jutting up from the water. Despite my cries for help, I was ignored- even told to be quiet- until the driver turned at the last minute and steered the boat out of danger.
I didn’t get back on a boat for nearly a year. The next summer I got brave again and went out on a boat at camp. After the driver almost drove over his friend in the water, I found myself once more staggering onto dry land vowing never to get on a boat again.
It’s a strange thing, this love/ hate that I have for water. There’s nothing more beautiful to me than watching the waves roll into the beach. There was nothing quite as invigorating as plowing through the waves, the air pressing against my face, until I my life flashed before my eyes. Until those with all the control . . . ignored my cries for help.
I can’t tell you when my phobia of water became alive and breathing. It just did. And while it’s funny to admit that I am terrified of buoys and large floating things in the water, the fear is very real.
The week of March 11th, 2011, was really hard for me. My dad had just remarried, and it happened to be the week of my mom’s birthday- the first without her. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of some and amazed at the rudeness of others. A friend emailed me and told me to “Cling to my Jesus buoy cause He ain’t gonna sink.” It was a strange picture for me to grasp . . . because I could hardly reconcile something I am terrified of with Someone I desperately love. I would not cling to a buoy. But I would cling to Jesus.
And it got me wondering about people on the outside of Christianity. I wonder if, from the outside looking in, it looks scary and senseless. Maybe they know it might save their lives, but they’re not sure if it will be worth it. They’re worried there’s something creepy lurking before the surface…
As someone who fears the unknown, I can empathize with them. It’s so hard to trust something you don’t understand. Or to trust something that other’s have misused. Maybe you’ve seen destruction at the hands of a “Christian.” Sometimes people mess up and there’s nothing we can do about it.
But… coming from someone who has known the Lord for 29 years… I can say that there’s nothing creepy lurking in the darkness. In fact, when the light of Christ dawns upon your darkest nights, the blackness and unknown flees like a bat at sunrise. The crevices and hidden corners are revealed. The dark and locked closets are opened and all the shadows and dust and bones are exposed. Nothing is hidden in the presence of the One Who has the power over life and death, heaven and hell.
I’ve studied His word for two decades. It make sense of the past and illuminates the future. And when it comes to Jesus Christ… well… He’s simply magnificent. The closer I get the more I realize how much closer I need to be. There’s always more to know. But each second with Him compels me to come nearer. Everything about Him draws me in.
It’s all about Him, it always has been. The picture my friend gave of Jesus being my buoy was so appropriate. That’s what it felt like for a few days. Like I had my eyes closed and I was clinging to this floating object, terrified of what was surrounding me… but then when I opened my eyes and I wasn’t on a buoy at all.
I was standing on a mountain. Safe in a tower. Under the cover of a might fortress.
All my experience and knowledge doesn’t always protect me from the foolish or hurtful actions of others. But it’s my love for Christ that keeps me close, never running away. It’s His love for me that draws me back in when the actions of others should have made me run for the valleys.
But in these hills is where my Beloved Lord is. And I’m not turning back.