She emerged dripping wet and beaming light, while sporting the most peaceful smile. In this moment, all was as it should be, for her…for all of us there. It was the beginning and an ending all at once.
Since living on an island in the Pacific this past year, the ocean has changed for me. What was once a source of tranquility has become a place of unpredictable danger. We’ve seen beaches laden with jelly fish and the wounded in enough pain to be in shock. We’ve heard of shark attacks reported in the very spots we splashed and played just days before. We’ve watched 15 foot swells come out of nowhere, knocking tourists into the rocks, and we’ve prayed as medics rushed the sand. The serenity and light that beams from the ocean can so often be overshadowed by the darkness that surrounds us. Tranquility is no longer the emotion I feel near the ocean. Now I find myself on edge. Nervous. Anxious.
But, on this day…on this day, I felt peace. No fears consumed me. Jesus was ever present in that water and a joyful serenity overtook us all. A sea turtle even followed us out to the baptism site, and in spite of our efforts to abide by the 20 ft distance restriction, he pursued our steps, chasing my sweet Maggie with a zealous, yet gentle spirit. This day, we felt God’s promises and took notice of nothing but that.
Five days later, terror struck in Paris, and my heart sank down into the pit of my stomach. We grieved for that nation, for the world, for the brothers and sisters and sons and daughters and moms and dads. We grieved for the shakiness that overtook the world, the darkness that was felt. The world that once seemed safe and tranquil in my own little girl days, was no longer. This world is different…a place of nervousness, anxiety, fear.
It seems insurmountable to stand at the edge of an attack and continue on as though all is ok, to splash on playfully without a hint of terror coursing through your veins. Standing in a storm of terror, we often feel forgotten, frightened, and left behind, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” –Mark 4:38-40
That day in the water with my sweet girl, we laughed, whimsically splashing around that sea turtle on our way to a rebirth. Not once, did I fret about what else might be in that water. Not once, did we feel apprehension about the sharp lava rocks surrounding us.
Jesus was there, the Prince of Peace. Where He is present, no fear can overcome us. We focused on Him, on the eternal and not one worry about this life crept in.
Isn’t that the way, the way we should trudge on? In this world of school shootings, terrorist attacks, hate crimes, and inexplicable pain our eyes need to look past the fear and focus on Jesus, on the eternal. It’s hard, I know. Let these times of terror blur until the foreground is fuzzy and beyond it is beautifully clear. We need to love others for Him, showing them a glimpse of His promises, instead of reacting in fear.
When we asked Maggie why she felt she was ready for baptism, she simply said, “I know I don’t have to get baptized. I already get to go to heaven because I love Jesus. It’s a step of obedience. I think since I do so much preparing for this life, I want to show God I’m ready for eternity too.”
Yep, out of the mouth of babes…she gets it. She’s ready for Him…eager to face this world with Jesus, knowing that may not always be easy, but that the reward is far beyond our empty version of perfection.
This life is so fleeting, but His life, the life He offers is eternal and nothing, no one, can take that away.
There in that water, everything…fear, condemnation, bondage…washed away. Here as we stand, no fear can anchor us to this land, for the eternal destiny before us, the love of the Father, lets us soar.
We’ve already won.
In Revelations, as Jesus prepares for battle with His armies behind Him, He “is dressed in a robe dipped in blood.” (Rev. 19:13) This was before the battle ever took place because He has already shed His blood for us.
The battle is already over.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace and fear and peace cannot coexist.
Live free. Live eternal.
Drip with peace, not with fear.
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