At the gym they have certain times of the day when the pool is closed for private swim lessons. As I saw people making their way to the stairs, I followed suit because I knew the lessons were about to begin. When I was about twenty feet away I noticed the traffic stopped.
A child that was probably seven or eight stopped about halfway down the pool stairs with his arms locked on the rails. He looked terrified. After some time and coaching from his instructor, he eventually worked to one side of the stairs so that people could get out. What should have taken me thirty seconds to get out of the pool took almost ten minutes.
As I was watching this young boy slowly work his way down the stairs, holding on for dear life, I could hear the gentle, welcoming voice of his instructor.
"It's going to be ok. You don't have to be afraid. No, you don't have to hold on to the side today. It's ok. You don't have to cry. Just breathe. Take your next step. I'm right here. Calm down. Listen to my voice. I'm right here. Just take your next step."
I sat down next to the boys mom as she looked on anxiously. I asked her if that was her son and she said yes. I told her that watching him work his way down the steps reminded me about our faith walk. Our instructor is Jesus and He is patiently waiting to meet us, gently calling out to reassure us that He is still there.
She stopped breathing heavy and looked at me and for about fifteen minutes I got the opportunity to talk about Jesus with his precious mom. She said her son is slightly autistic so he has a hard time understanding. I reminded her that even on our best day we don't fully see or understand what Jesus is doing but He is still patiently waiting, gently calling, ready to watch us take our next step of faith.
Then I told her that I was sure her son would get there eventually because he seemed to have a great teacher and she smiled. She said no matter what they try, he just won't let go of the stairs. Right after she said that we heard the instructor shout loudly, great job! We both turned to look. There was her son jumping up and down, flapping his arms, at least three feet from the stairs safely in the arms of his instructor.
As I walked away, I was thinking about my own faith journey as I prepare to preach two more weeks at Daybreak Church and trust God to bring people along side of me as I raise financial support to become a missionary. I could hear the gentle voice of my Rabbi waiting in the water...
"It's going to be ok. You don't have to be afraid. No, you don't have to hold on to the side today. It's ok. You don't have to cry. Just breathe. Take your next step. I'm right here. Calm down. Listen to my voice. I'm right here. Take your next step."
(Post from July 12th, 2017)