I have a confession to make. The young apologist who is not afraid of atheists, Muslims, Jews, JWs, Mormons, Hindus,
New Agers, and so many others has some great fears. One of them is water.
But I work out at the National Fitness Center also. They have a pool and I was daring enough to try it out one day. I
never go underwater as the thought terrifies me and I obviously can't swim but I do enjoy it. (And no, I don't go in just
for the chance that some lovely lady comes in also but that is a good reason for any college guy to go anyway.)
But I got in there today thinking about a lot of personal problems and dilemmas. There's something strange about the
water as I relaxed at the edge which I never stray far from leaning out with my arms resting on the side and just thinking
to myself with maybe some Christian songs going in my mind.
I'd been thinking about it lately but water is a good metaphor for some things. I looked at it and realized that while
I was terrified of the water in many ways, the water was not there to hurt me. There are probably some things I could do in
the water but I don't because I don't trust the water.
There's reason for that. Water can be dangerous and we all know that. My main memory is being at the beach in one of
my earliest memories and having the undertow drag me under. My Dad saved me then but that's probably why I fear water today.
We can even see in the Bible the story of the flood that destroyed mankind. Water is a force to be reckoned with.
But then we come to the NT and see water there as well in a positive light. John the Baptist comes baptizing with water
and the apostles do the same thing. (My personal idea for a baptism is the baptism of the Holy Swirlie but I don't think many
churches would take it.) Now what could water represent in many ways?
And I considered the idea of truth. Picture water as truth. Truth is overwhelming. It is all around you but it is not
there to hurt you really. It is there to help you. The problem is we don't trust the truth. I think of my own wrestling with
salvation at times. Maybe you've been like that before. You look at your life and you realize you have really fallen short
of the standards of a holy God but Christ speaks forth from the Scriptures and says "I love you. Trust me."
We all know the saying that baptism is the outward sign of an inward change. There is much truth to that but think of
what it means if water could represent truth. Imagine, the picture of saying "I trust you Jesus" and being immersed in truth.
I'll tell you it took me a long time to reach that point. I got saved in a Baptist church but the thought of baptism terrified
me. Then I decided after several years I needed to do it. I had been sprinkled as a Methodist but that was it.
So at the Methodist church I was attending they just happened to have a baptistry. I don't know the story behind that
but it's there. The preacher agrees to baptize me but promises me he won't take me under too far and remembers that I have
a steel rod on my spinal cord so he can't bend me back too far. I took the plunge. I was glad I did it but it sure isn't something
I'd want to repeat.
But I like that idea. Bathing in truth. Immersing yourself in the truth. That's one of the problems in the church today.
We have so many emotions and experiences we don't have truth. I recall someone in a chat I was in today saying to get rid
of rock music because God had told them rock music was keeping them from him. No Scripture. Just an experience.
Could that have been true? Maybe, but I'm doubtful. I personally don't listen to much rock but I do think secular music
is powerful. My concern was that no Scripture was given. Just an experience. An experience is not equal to the truth. We need
immersion in the truth.
And picture Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. If you feet are clean, you do not need your body to be clean. Picture
that parallel. If you walk in the truth, you will not have to worry about your body getting soiled with lies.
As I was pondering these ideas I found myself in the pool getting frivilous. Splashing the water around me and noting
that there were ripples to every action but that the water was friendly. It was almost like being a kid again. I was even
able to stray from the edge for a time. For awhile, all troubles disappeared.
But I don't stop at the pool when I work out. Our gym also has a hot tub. The water of the pool is cold but the hot tub
is....well.....hot. What would you expect? I went in to soak and two thoughts flashed through my mind then.
I recalled my pastor who had spoken several months ago on the church in Laodicea in Revelation. I'd always heard that
Christ wanted them to be spiritually hot or cold but no. Our pastor pointed out that they had two springs there. The hot water
was nice and soothing and the cold water was cool and refreshing. Both had their purpose.
Truth can be chilling. When you get in the pool at first you will freeze some but the more you get used to it the more
relaxed you become. The hot tub for me is the real soother though. Heat has a way of relieving one.
But then I thought to a study I'd read somewhere also. An interesting debate over which was better, baths or showers.
Interesting I thought so I read it. The shower did have many advantages I don't remember but the study did say the bath can
ease stress by allowing you to soak. (Obviously, the researcher didn't take in mind that some of us have steel rods on our
spines and can't soak in ordinary tubs.)
But I thought about that. I could see the point. I just thought of soaking in the truth. Truth is something very important
to me. As an apologist, I've made it my life quest to find truth. However, in the quest it is good to soak in the truths that
you have found. It is comforting in a time of distress to remember the truth and relax in it. Not the lies of Satan we all
so conveniently hear.
C.S. Lewis said that the real person to fear is the one who God can remove his presence from and the Heavens will seem
silent and they will wonder if God is there and if he really cares but will go on and follow him anyway. I like that quote.
I can relate to it a lot. When I was in the tub though I was able to imagine just being in that presence though.
God's presence is something soothing but like the hot tub and the pool, we have to go out into the world. My day went
good from there though. Sure there were many external and internal questions still but I had gotten to relax. I had learned
to trust somewhat what I thought was a threat and found it wasn't as scary as it had been. Truth is like that, and for that,
I love truth.
And for that, I love the one who said "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life."
So come with me when you see the pool. Take the plunge. Plunge into the truth.