Deep waters

When we were in Hawaii, we spent a lot of time snorkeling in the tide pools behind our rental home. The tide pools looked rather shallow with calm waters. Even when I was sitting on the edge of the pools, it looked like the water was only a couple feet deep. 

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It wasn’t until I put on my goggles that I realized just how deep the water really was. In some places it was about 25 feet deep. I tried to stay close to the edges because I don’t know how to swim (I can float but I don’t know how to get my head out of the water without “drowning”). By being close to the edge, I can stand up if anything happened (leaking snorkeling gear, fogged goggles, etc.).

One time I decided to go farther out but still stayed close to the edges. After a little while, I climbed on a rock, looked around, and realized that I had ventured a good distance from the house. My husband found me and suggested that I go out towards the other side. I told him that as long as I had the rock edges then I would be fine.

I followed the rocks going in the other direction, then all of a sudden the rocks ended and I found myself in very deep water (about 15 feet deep). I frantically looked around for the rocks I had followed but I couldn’t find them. I started to panic—what if my snorkeling gear “messed up,” what was I supposed to do?

I saw my husband and he started to snorkel next to me. I wanted to hold onto him because I was afraid, so I tried to get his attention but since I couldn’t yell to him, he just kept going. I tried not to look down, but I did and I started to feel the pounding of my heart getting stronger (even now as I think about it, my heart starts to pound against my chest). I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. I had nothing in between me and that deep water—no security—no rocks to stand on.

I tried to hold my breath thinking that if I could keep the air in my lungs then I could float better, but the distance between where I was and where I had to go was too far. I took shallow breaths, praying for God to just get me through to the other side. As I waded towards the rocks at the distance, I pushed out the images of me sinking to the bottom. I tried to focus my eyes ahead of me instead of below me.

When I finally made it to “shore,” I felt shaky. The scary experience somehow reminded me of Matthew 14:29-30, “…Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!””

I realized two things: (1) God is the only Person we can rely on—when we are in scary or deep situations in life, only He can help us, and (2) We can’t let things distract us.

Peter was fine as long as he focused on Jesus, but the second he looked around, he became scared. When I was trying to get to the edge of the tide pool, I had to keep looking forward—I couldn’t look down, behind, or sideways; I had to focus and look straight ahead.

The point is, no matter what you are going through, keep your eyes on Jesus and keep going forward. Don’t let the past or the things going on in your life distract you from focusing on God.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Preparation

When I was in high school, one of the classes we needed in order to graduate was a typing course. None of us really knew why we were forced to take a typing course—what good was it? How often would we have to use a typewriter?

A few years later, PCs became popular and the keyboard for the computer was the same as the typewriter. Since I had to take the typing course, using the keyboard was not an issue for me.

I tried out for every sport in my school during my senior year. One of the sports I participated in was cross country. I had never ran before but being on the team helped me to slowly run up to six miles.

A few months after I graduated, I enlisted in the Army National Guard. The running I did in high school helped me during basic training.

When my husband and I were deciding on where to get married, we had no idea that his parent’s suggestion to get married at their church would result in us becoming Christians. Now my husband is a senior pastor and we both teach at Christian colleges.

We never know what will happen in the future, but many times God is preparing us for it. Even when we go through bad situations, it is to prepare us to help others who will experience the same or similar things (2 Cor 1:3-4).

Life would be much easier if we could know everything that will happen to us in the future, but then we wouldn’t need to rely on God.

I don’t know God’s future plan for me, but I know that I need to trust Him. I need to continue to have faith, and I need to seek His face.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Run to God!

My husband and I are reading through Job and we are at the part where Job’s friends are there to console him. After his first friend speaks, Job replies by describing his pain—“My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus” (Job 7:5, NLT). Even though Job had lost everything and was now physically suffering, he never “curses” God.

People endure so many different things. My father-in-law suffered with a debilitating illness for 20 years yet it made him a stronger Christian. No matter how much pain he felt, he had a smile on his face. He could have easily turned away from God but instead he clung to Him even tighter.

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Then I thought about people who have other hardships and how they have stopped relying on God. Rather than asking God why they are suffering, they instead say in their hearts that there is no God.  These people are like seeds that have been planted on shallow soil or around thorn bushes—they spout but then die off quickly (Matthew 13:5-7, NLT).

I think God uses hardships to shape us. It is a test of our endurance—will we keep relying on Him even though it seems like He is doing nothing to help us? First Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). Are you suffering physically, mentally, or emotionally? Then run to God, cling to Him, and never let Him go!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti