I have always had the dream of being able to go snorkelling over coral reefs, to admire tropical fish in their native habitats, and to be able to fully enjoy the wonders of the undersea world. Only one problem: Swim masks don’t fit over coke bottle glasses! When I was young I tried to use snorkelling gear. I left my glasses on the beach, naturally, and I can remember squinting my eyes tight to try and make up for all of those blurry, non-descript forms on the ocean floor. After half-an-hour I gave up and never touched that gear again. Now my family and I were headed for the Bahamas, and the dream was revived. Especially when I was able to procure a special snorkelling mask made with prescription glass! I was hopeful once again!
I didn’t waste any time in trying out my gear. The hotel we were staying at was just across the street from a beautiful beach, and our first evening in Nassau found me in the water, my prescription snorkelling gear in hand.
My first try was not too successful: My mask filled with salt water the moment I put my face under the water. I almost drowned in my own mask! I quickly learned that it needed to be quite tight!
My next attempt was no better. This time I inhaled a large quantity of salt water through my snorkel. It seemed I was destined to drink salt water, no matter what!
Three’s a charm, and although I made every beginner’s mistake in the book, my eyes opened up in wonder at the sight of beautiful fish, colourful corral formations, conches, eels, and sea urchins. There really was a different world out there, and for the first time in my life, I was able to enjoy it as if I was part of it. Wow!
I quickly learned to flip my fins instead of using my arms, especially if I was approaching schools of colourful fish. Often these would draw me in, completely surrounding me with their welcoming committee, and accept me as if I were part of their family. I could have literally reached out and touched them if I wanted to! Some of them, especially the ones with bands of yellow and black over their bodies (I called these the “zebra” fish!), would follow me anywhere I went. It felt really special.
I could have asked myself why I had waited so long to discover this unimaginable underwater world, but, somehow, all of my futile attempts of the past seemed insignificant now that I could really enjoy the ocean world!
During the next few days of our vacation, I made sure to join my new-found friends daily. I even visited every marine attraction possible. Coral reefs were my favourite, but the piers weren’t too bad either, as many fish made their homes in the stones thrown into the water. During one of our snorkelling outings, my wife and older son were greeted by a reef shark. You should have seen how fast my wife swam back to shore! His intentions must have been reputable, however, for she came out of the water with all of her body parts! I have to say that it was with sadness that I packed my prescription mask and snorkel to return home. I would miss my new-found friends!
In reflecting back on how I discovered this amazing new world, I realize that when it comes to discovering the greatest reality of our cosmos, many of us are missing out! Just like the bad experience I had when snorkelling as a child, many of us have been burned by legalistic, unbiblical churches, or by zealots who had their own imposing theology. These impose their blurred view of God on us, leaving us with a sour taste in our spirits for Godly things. I let my snorkelling experience keep me from trying again for the next 40 years. Likewise, we often let these unhappy religious experiences keep us from trying God again.
How can you discover this world? Let’s find out:
“(Jesus is talking here) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20 NIV)
“Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7 NIV)
Amazingly, the only gear you need is not a healthy wallet, nor a life commitment to a certain church establishment. The only equipment you need is a willingness to pursue God, and a willingness to open your heart to Him when you discover Him. There is no doubt about it: when you seek the Lord, you will find Him!
Just like I couldn’t get enough of the marine world once I discovered it, once you truly experience God in your life, you won’t be able to stop wanting to experience Him more. Only one difference: His world is billions of times better!
It’s amazing how once you give up control of your life by putting your controller in God’s hands, you start experiencing real joyful living. You start to experience your world with a new pair of eyes, and with gaping mouth, you can only exclaim: “Incredible!”
“As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end. But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (Rom 6:20-23 The Message)
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
Come and experience this out-of-the world reality! Don’t let your past experience hinder you from discovering what your full living entails. There is another world out there, one that will always satisfy you to the fullest!
(To access the entire “Control Freaks’ Senility” devotional series, please click here.)