A few weeks ago, I had the occasion of being at a meeting that found me in a place where I could snorkel. I love snorkeling. I love the water. I love the fish. I love the utter peace and quiet when you stick your head just under the surface and all goes silent. I love the metaphor. I love the significance of being transported to another realm and meeting God.
Several of us from our Iris family were blessed to take a day trip glass-bottom canoeing and snorkeling. Only a few of us actually went snorkeling. You can imagine my excitement after almost 2 years in land locked areas to actually GET to snorkel! I just couldn’t wait to relax, zone into another realm and be with Jesus. Weeeellllll, I had a little object lesson awaiting me.
My first surprise was they marched us out to the beach, only after putting on us uniformly ugly, ill-fitting life vests that served more to get in the way than anything. These unique monstrosities were buoyed by hot air blown into them. Then came the introduction to your mask. How hard is it to figure out? Please. We Iris folks just looked at one another. We all love snorkeling. This was so absurd it was almost comical. THEN it started to rain, so they made us stand in the rain while explaining the proper use of the snorkel. It goes in your mouth. No, you don’t say! I thought it went in my ear.
Once released into the water, my second surprise came. Could we just snorkel and enjoy this other realm for ourselves? OH NO! We had to follow the snorkel tour guide who herded us like cattle, yelling at us to keep up. “YOU in the back (me- I don’t like being herded)- KEEP UP!”
Every two minutes, our specially assigned tour guide would shout, “Are you ok? Everyone comfy?” Then he would make us stop so he could announce, ” There is an angel fish on your left and a coral formation on your right.” It was all SO utterly absurd I decided it MUST be prophetic. Or where was the camera guy shooting for candid camera?
So what are You saying sweet Jesus? I asked as I swam back to shore after the umpteenth time of being yelled at to KEEP UP. Jesus just laughed and laughed. “Why, beloved it just like what you do in church.” He began to show me some startling parallels. Let me share a few…
In our church world, we risk taking people on snorkel tours of the supernatural if we are not careful. We keep them afloat, safe from going too deep, with ill-fitting carbon copy containers of hot air. They all have to wear the same vest. And then often everyone compares their vests with one another. Hers is more inflated than mine. His is better looking.
No one can dare to swim into the depths. The pressure to conform is too strong.
We then take our group on a guided tour with a specially trained tour guide. We herd them into one meeting and then another. Every 2 minutes we check to see if they are comfortable. They can’t just encounter this realm for themselves- they have to have a tour guide. And when it is all said and done, we take them back ashore and say, “Wasn’t that nice? You saw an angel fish, hallelujah!” They leave with an experience (they saw an angel fish), but they didn’t get the revelation they were created for another realm, to live there all the time! And what’s more, they are to carry this other realm with them.
On our last stop, I got the opportunity to snorkel again- without the tour guide! I got to snorkel with Jesus for 3 glorious hours with little to no interruptions. Just to hear God and be fully immersed- I hear God easier underwater. Everything speaks to me of the reality I am created for.
It really IS this easy- all I have to do is float in His love, float in His heart and breathe. Float in His ocean of love and breathe. That’s IT! Stay submerged in Him and when I step out, I overflow from the realm I am immersed in. Float in His love then live in His flow.
After the first hour or so, I took a break and was so undone by His Presence, I could barely function on land and people chased me down for me to pray for them. I prayed for everyone who came, but then I just wanted to be with Jesus again, so I waved, smiled and ran- grabbed my snorkel and dove into the depths to hide in Him.
I am learning there is a rhythm of His Presence much like the rhythm of the ocean. Out to the depths to drink Him in and in to the shore lines of nations and circumstances to pour out love on His feet in each person I meet. Out to be with Him, in to be with people. There is a holy, holy rhythm of love like a heartbeat. I am learning to soak and drink of Him so deeply I am saturated and carry His realm with me.
What happens when we carry His realm with us because we are submerged and saturated in His glory love? The blind see. The cripple walk. Broken hearts are mended by His tenderness. Injustice is confronted by mercy in all its boldness. Radical compassion breaks forth around us and through us because we are carrying His heart.
We were not created for this realm. We were created to live in the realm of our King and from there manifest His Kingdom where ever we go. It really is that easy. Float in His love. Stay submerged in His heart. Breathe Him in and then watch His realm break through your life every where you go. It is natural… it is normal. It is the supernatural life we were created for where His natural becomes our normal.
YOU were created for another realm… and not to take a snorkel tour either! NO MORE snorkel tours of the supernatural! We are called to be submerged, saturated lovers of God who drip His love onto everyone we meet. So let me encourage you. Don’t settle for the 30 min or the 3 day guided tour. Dive in and go deep. Dare to discover the depths of His ocean of love for yourself.
Learn the rhythm of the deep. Float, breathe, flow, hide, give, love, drink and live in the realm for which you were created. Selah.