I think in the last post I said there would be more than one post from the book, “Expectations and Burnout” by Eenigenburg and Bliss. This analogy is worth sharing:
“During his sermon Lowell used an illustration that communicated powerfully to my battered faith. He explained correctly why I don’t like swimming in the ocean: there are living things lurking beneath the surface; the waves are unpredictable and splash my face; it’s cold and deep; there are undertows and pulls that frighten; it’s salty and sandy and alive. I do not like swimming in the ocean. I much prefer a swimming pool, a heated pool at that. The temperature is controlled. You can enter at your pleasure, either the deep end or the shallow end. You can go in as far as yo like and then climb back out. Inflate a floating device and float on the top if you choose! The bottom is level and smooth. There are no surprises. Nothing lives in a swimming pool.
And that’s the kind of God I would prefer as well: one that is controlled and moderate; a God I can measure and understand. I can enter His depths, but only as far as I am comfortable. However, that’s not the kind of God we have. Our God is an ocean of a God. He is alive and dangerous. There are forces at work below HIs surface. He alone controls the depths, the sprays, the splashes of His personhood. He woos us to the bottom where the water may appear murky and mysterious. Our God is wild and untamable. He is expansive and unpredictable. When we say he is holy, we mean he is strange and we do well to take our shoes off. The ground is holy and the water is deep. “
I love this mental picture. We are very much like swimmers on the surface of this ocean – God. Many, many people stand on the shore and never enter the water. Of those who do ease a toe or two in, a few will float around. We’re content to just swim around on the surface. Some brave souls will get a snorkel and dive down a little way, but come back up to the surface to catch a breath. These swimmers will see incredible beauty – things that do not exist on land, but are only found within the ocean of God. But a few… a brave few will answer a call they hear deep in their souls…like whale song. Indescribable. Hauntingly beautiful. And they’ll swim out farther and farther from shore…Following the beauty of the ocean. If we, those brave seekers, stop trying to control the uncontrollable and flow with the rhythm of this ocean… if we find the courage to sink deeply into the ocean of God…we’ll see and experience things that will blow our minds. There is unimaginable beauty at the bottom of the ocean. And if we let ourselves sink into God…we’ll find that we’re actually fish. And LIFE is in this ocean.