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Anxiety | Christian Living | Fear

Afraid to Breathe

By Ramona Smith

My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary with a cruise. Terry, my beloved, has done quite a bit of traveling, but it’s pretty different for me. I had never been out of the country before we married. Four months after our wedding, we took a mission trip to Africa for two weeks. Now, we were on another adventure and I was experiencing more exciting new things.

At a stopover on Grand Cayman Island, we chose to go snuba diving. Yes, I said “snuba,” not “scuba.” My husband had experience scuba diving and loved it, but I had no prior experience. Snuba diving is the same as scuba diving, except you don’t carry your oxygen tank on your back. Instead, you are connected by a tube to a raft that carries the oxygen tank. This makes the experience a bit easier for the beginner by not having to carry that weight on their back.

Now, I am a bit fluffy and we discovered quickly that fluff does not sink. The first thing the instructor had to do was add a good bit of weight to my belt so that I could stay underwater without popping to the top like a cork.

The next thing to accomplish was learning to breathe through the regulator under water. We practiced while standing in shallow water, which went rather well, I thought, then swam out to deeper water where we could dive down to 30 feet. Since I could now swim underwater with my belt full of weight, I started down into the depths, following my husband.

And then it was time to take a breath.

Oh my, but I did panic! I zoomed straight back up to the raft, breaching the surface of the water and gulping air as if I had nearly drowned. Obviously, I had not practiced enough. I tried diving again, nearly repeating my panicked retreat but, as I turned skyward toward air, I was able to tell myself to stop, don’t panic, take a breath. That breath under water through the tube was the hardest breath I have ever taken.

As I lurked just under the surface of the water practicing breathing and trying to overcome the sheer will not to breathe because I was under water and as I looked through the oval of the mask, suddenly, I recognized my beloved’s hand appear in front of me as he reached up into my view to take my hand. He had swum to the bottom, expecting that I had followed. When he turned to find me and discovered that I was not there, he came back up to the top to get me.

As I put my hand in his, my panic subsided and a sure calm overcame me. Together, my husband and I traversed the space between the surface and the sea floor. In minutes, I was sitting on the bottom of the sea trying to touch the beautifully colored fish. It was a wonderful experience for both me and my husband.

As I look back on that experience today, it’s easy to relate it to my relationship with God. How many times have I tried to breathe underwater only to retreat to my sinful nature? How many times have I come close to drowning in sin, only to see the hand of God reach up into view to save me?

My relationship with my husband is very reminiscent of my relationship with the Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Lord God told me about my present husband when I was a young teenager. This was a promise that took a while to fulfill, but he did fulfill it and it is more than I ever imagined.

My beloved loves me as Jesus does. He does not argue, he does not judge. He allows me to grow and change as God works to develop me; he supports me as my dreams morph into God’s dreams for me; he is steadfast in love and slow to anger; he is beautifully jealous of any other man who might come before him. My beloved exhibits the perfect love of God to me each and every day.

In my life experiences, I have grown to trust the Holy Spirit, my comforter and sustainer. When the world becomes too much for me to bear or when my heart is broken, he reaches into my view, capturing my hand and transforming me unto Jesus Christ by the renewing of my mind.

Sister, I encourage you to trust in the Lord, not in your own understanding. Desire the new experiences, the new gifts that God has promised you in his word. He is faithful to answer you when you ask for more of him.

For all of us, there are times when we can’t see or sense that God is near but we must watch for the hand of God. He will take action to bring us to a calm understanding of the treasures that await us. Take a breath and widen your vision, for God’s love is amazingly sustaining. He sent his only son to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could be with him eternally. That is big love. The only thing he asks for in return is for us to give him all of ourselves; everything we are and are yet to be.

The treasure is not buried and it is so close. Take his hand with full trust that he will guide you and never leave you or forsake you. Allow him to lead you to the full experience of living in Christ. For there, at the end of the journey is the glory of the Lord, and it is an extravagant and highly valuable experience not to be missed. Don’t allow yourself to float at the surface, afraid to breathe. God’s got you, he loves you and he will fully equip you for your journey.

 

Ramona Smith is a Belief Therapist and Life Coach. She and her husband, Terry, have two Maltese puppies, four children and six grandchildren. Her love for reaching the hearts of the hurting spurs her passion for Biblical counseling, writing and teaching.

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