Hitting the water
Listen to this daily worship
Matthew 4: 3-4 (NRSVA)
3 The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ 4 But he answered, ‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’
I’m no swimming expert, but I know this much: belly flops hurt. And if you’re as inexperienced a diver as me, you probably approach each dive with a degree of trepidation: I don’t trust that I’m sufficiently skilled for this dive to go according to my plans! To hit the water at the wrong angle is painful physically, and given that most swimming experiences are communal, can also cause painful embarrassment. Not to mention drenching nearby spectators!
But just as the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness, so I’m led to prayer. It’s not all fun and games: did He know that the purpose of this time was testing? Jesus goes, and in His vulnerability is tempted to make things easier for Himself.
Perhaps I could just stay cosy today. If I stay here then I get to avoid the dreaded belly flop. It is winter after all – hardly the weather for a swim. Did God really say that He would meet with me there?
The cult of comfort is a big problem. In C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, Lucy is compelled to ask Mr Beaver if Aslan the lion is safe. “Safe? Whoever said anything about safe? But he is good.” The goodness of God means that we can enter in to His presence in prayer, in whatever way we hit the water, and He will honour even our less graceful attempts.
I surrender my clinging to comfort, knowing that You bring comfort enough. You have prepared me, You have led me and I will trust You. Thank You that however awkwardly or painfully I enter in to prayer today, You will always bear my weight and teach me to swim. Amen