making sense of depth charges

Posted: April 29, 2011 in UChicago Jorgen

(This concludes a four-part series)

I exited the locker room and walked with a sense of purpose towards the pool. I hadn’t swam intentionally for almost three years, and I felt excited and accomplished just to have made it this far: at the gym, changed, and almost at the pool deck – I had intended to go swimming many times over the previous 8 months, it had never come to fruition, until now(!). As I “neared” the “pool entrance” it struck me that I had no idea how to get to the pool. Though I had been a gym employee, and pointed numerous inquisitive patrons in the right direction, I myself was wandering around on the 2nd floor with absolutely no clue. I walked back into the locker room, and, in elegant nonchalance, waited until I saw someone who looked like they were headed to the pool. Not much time passed before a guy, in swimming attire, walked out of the back of the locker room. Casually, I walked over to the door and read the sign on it: To Pool.

***

We were instructed to keep our eyes closed as they paced behind us, wielding the pole of fate. The tension rose with each passing moment, and the occasional splash of a comrade falling into the water. And then it was my turn, I felt the pressure of the pole push between my shoulder blades, I fought and floundered but fell anyway, fell into the deep.

***

I was pretty out of shape by swimming standards, and was, therefore, rather out of breath after swimming only a handful of lengths. But, I could still swim. The water was not overwhelming, it did not consume me.

After so many years of not swimming purposefully, I was decently pleased with my ability to get back into it. This was, however, only possible because I did learn to swim at one point, I was not jumping completely blindly into the water. In fact, I had even learned water survival tips and safety. Most notably was that story from scout camp mentioned above, where they came around and pushed us into the deepest part of the pool (granted, it still wasn’t that deep). At that point it was sink or swim, we had to get ourselves safely to the side of the pool. This seems like a piece of cake to those of us who have the slightest swimming ability, but what about those who do not?

It is possible to drown in an inch of water.

***

Sometimes we are thrust into situations that are much deeper than that.

Sometimes we are faced with tragedy.

Sometimes we are overcome by fear.

Sometimes life is needlessly frustrating.

(Please note that in these anecdotes I am not claiming that “I have truly suffered, look at me,” no, I already established that we cannot compare ourselves in this past post.)

Tell me how, if you have not learned to swim, you are supposed to handle situations like these that come your way?

It seems much more likely to me that you will“…be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;…” (Ephesians 4:14)

Unless we have a deep sense of what it is real and what is good, we will be sunk when depth charges are cast upon us. Unless we understand how tragedy, fear, frustration and the like, fit into a master plan, we will be destroyed when we come into contact with these things. (We have a guarantee that these things will come: John 16:33.)

The beauty is this: once we learn to manage the deep, it makes our enjoyment of the shallow (used here only as “less-deep”, not as a judgment on its worth) that much better. Once we have conquered the deep, outlasted the depth charges, we can rise to the surface victorious again, ready to embrace a multi-faceted, amazing peace.

Those who are the best at swimming will make the best waders.

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