by Leigh Ann Thomas @lthomaswrites
My sand-encrusted body moved with darts and spins as my dad emerged from the pounding waves to chase me along the beach. Dad’s laughter surfed the ocean breeze, and within moments of his pursuit, scooped me into strong arms and turned back to the water.
I squealed with giggles, then with terror, as I realized his intent. My tiny frame clung to his massive one as Dad waded into froth-filled breakers—into depths well over my five-year-old stature.
Earlier, Dad had disappeared beyond the surf. In my mind, he might as well have been across the sea. The vast ocean with wet arms that reached to grab me as I played was to be avoided. I was content, safe on the shore with my seashell treasures and endless sand between my toes.
My dad wanted me to go deeper.
He wanted to take me out of my safe zone, to expand my pint-sized world. He wanted me to trust him. To rest in his love and know he would never beckon me into a place where he wouldn’t be.
He knew the mystery waiting beyond the breakers—an unseen sandbar that would provide a place to stand. And he anticipated the pleasure of seeing his timid daughter wriggle with delight at the new adventure and perspective.
Oh, what a sacred image of how our Lord calls to us.
How He longs to lead us into deeper wells of faith and life. How He wants us to trust in His love and purposes and to reach beyond our places of comfort.
Paralyzed with doubt, our knuckles whiten as we cling to what we know. But, Lord I like it here. My world is comfortable. Pleasant. Seriously, I have no desire for change. Haven’t I earned a little down time? I’m rather, um, tired. Besides, I’m doing good stuff here!
Scripture is filled with men and women whom God pursued on the shores of comfort-filled waters. Abraham and Sarah are just two of the Old Testament saints who stepped away from the familiar into God-sized joys and blessings. Fledgling New Testament Christians chose to remain steadfast, when in the midst of earthly persecution, God relocated them around the known world, making the Gospel available to all.
But there is none greater than the ultimate example—our Lord Jesus Christ—who left the glories of heaven to lay down his life for us, defeating sin and death when he rose again the third day. Jesus modeled the ultimate obedience to give us the gift of reconciliation with the Father.
The God of Abraham, Sarah, and the early Christians still moves in our hearts today, drawing us, wooing us to leave the shallows and explore the depths. To refuse the stagnation that comes with disobedience.
He wants us to trust that He will not leave us treading water, but will provide a new place to stand.
How do we know when it’s time to move and to go deeper? Discernment begins with an immersion—a saturation—in the Word of God. In Romans 12:2 (NIV), the apostle Paul writes: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Whether to a new area of ministry, or to share the Gospel with the neighbors down the street, God will never call us where He is not already at work. He can’t wait to see our full measure of resulting joy as we plunge into new depths of obedience and faith.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. Romans 8:14 NIV
About the author: Leigh Ann Thomas is passionate about encouraging women to seek God’s best. She has penned four books and is a contributing author in 12 books and compilations. She is married to her best friend, Roy, and they are thankful for the gifts of three daughters, two sons-in-law, three amazing grandsons and a grand princess. Learn more at LeighAThomas.com. Connect on Facebook and on Twitter @LThomasWrites.
Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone—Inspiration for Women in the Middle, uses Scripture, prayer, and the power of story to show women in midlife how being smack-dab in the middle of God’s plans is the best place to be.
Join the conversation: Have you become complacent in pleasant shores? Is the Lord calling you to go deeper with Him?