The Swimming Lessons of Faith

Over three years ago, I began a blog series on the most neglected entry in the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (see Exod. 20:8-11). Seven months and forty posts later, the series still hadn’t covered all the Scriptural material dealing with the Sabbath. Nevertheless, I had been duly affected by my study, and our family’s Sunday habits evolved into something more refreshing, restful, and relaxing than we could have ever dreamed.

Imagine a poor landowner accidentally breaking open an oil reserve on his property. That is how we felt in our pursuit of the Sabbath—like God had a main conduit of blessing just beneath the surface and we found ourselves positioned to receive from its abundance. Our relationships with God and each other experienced an increase in joy and affection.

Of course, it can be easy for our souls to turn habits and practices—even divinely ordained ones—into rote and bland traditions. Three years after my blog series, it can sometimes be a struggle to remember why we’re treating Sunday different from the other days of the week. We need God’s grace in order to keep our Scripturally-inspired traditions from becoming legalistic or mundane pursuits.

One means of such grace came to me recently in the form of an article in Christianity Today entitled “The Sabbath Swimming Lesson,” by Susan Wunderink. The article makes excellent use of a swimming lesson as an analogy for the Sabbath rest. I highly recommend reading it.

This article is a reminder to me of one the central ideas behind the Sabbath rest: following God is a matter of trust. Like all truly good pursuits, the life of faith is hard. Scripture even calls it a fight (see 1 Tim. 6:12 and 2 Tim. 4:7). Our flesh may look at the ways of God with jaw-dropping incredulity, and it can often be a fight to believe in His promises. But as countless Christians throughout the ages have experienced, the promises of God are precious and magnificent (2 Pet. 1:4).

May we all continue to find greater rest and joy and peace as we press on to know the Lord with greater intimacy. May we embrace His promises and commands with increasing delight. May we seek to benefit from the numerous swimming lessons of faith that He provides for us.