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Deep Waters & Hot Fires

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

I am the youngest of three kids and I remember that I always wanted to be like my older siblings and do the things they did. There is one thing my family was raised with, the love of swimming. My grandma used to joke that when each grandchild was born, she threw them in the water, and we would either sink or swim. Yes, water is a family love and no she really didn't do that. Nonetheless there was a lake we all visited then, and we still have family reunions at. Further out in the deeper part of the lake there are high diving boards where all the big kids love to go. Of course, I knew how to swim, but my dad wouldn't let me go out there without him when I was younger.

I remember vividly the first dive I took. My dad was in the water below me ready to be there if I needed him. I bravely climbed the smaller high dive and excitedly jumped in. What I remember next was a sinking feeling as seaweed touched the bottom of my feet. Before I had two seconds to panic my dad's strong grasp was pulling me back to the surface. Because I was still young, I had forgotten one important rule of diving, kick your feet to get yourself back to the surface. It was a lesson learned and I had many more cannonball dives over the years, but I will always remember my dad being right by my side to pull me to safety.

What about fires? Have you ever enjoyed a really big, hot bonfire, where the flames are so hot they burned with a blue hue? You have to keep backing away just so you don't melt. When I was young my dad and I both were burned by an oil fire, him more severely, but we both carry the scars now of a day that could have been more tragic than it was. It started in our kitchen where we had forgotten a pot of oil on the stove and soon flames broke out. My dad told the three of us kids to run outside while he tried to put the fire out. After putting it in the sink didn't work, he ran outside with the pot. I, thinking it was out, was walking back to the door as my dad came out the door. He saw me and quickly threw the pot in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the wind blew some of the oil on me. I praise the Lord that only the kitchen ceiling had soot marks and the carpet had a few burnt spots where the oil splashed as he was running through the house. My dad's wrist had third degree burns and I had some burns that where second degree burns, but the Lord kept our family safe and the house intact.

Every day we face challenges, some big, some small. Some fires and deep waters and some little hiccups. The wonderful thing though is that we have a great promise from God. He will help us with whatever we face, Isaiah 43:1-2 “Now this is what the Lord says. He created you, people of Jacob; he formed you, people of Israel. He says, “Don’t be afraid, because I have saved you. I have called you by name, and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you.”

Do you see how the verse says we will all have troubles and difficulties in life? As a believer in Christ, He also promises we won't be alone. The Lord will walk with us through every trial, challenge, or crisis we go through.

For me, the water was deep and overwhelming, and the flames didn't feel good but there was a constant in my life protecting me. Because I am at his child, he named me, (OK my mom did too), and he would die for me, my dad was always there to catch me when I fell or protect me the best he could, from the dangers. Growing up my dad has never been far from my reach because I am part of him, and his love will never end.

The same can be said about God. Our waters may run deep or our fires heating up but to God it is nothing. Because we are His children, created by Him and ransomed, His love runs deep. He will not let us be overwhelmed, drown or be scared because He paid the price for us and has claimed us for Himself. He will not lose any of us in our daily problems called life and He will always be at an arms reach for us when we need Him.

I like to tell others. When you've reached the end of your rope, reach up and touch the hem of His garment. Whatever you are facing today, cling to Jesus and let Him pull you through it. That's His promise to us.

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