In the fall of 1972, my parents moved to Palatine, IL, and there was only one thing wrong with the new house. It was a beautiful place, on a corner lot, with a circular drive, hardwood floors and two fireplaces. But is had a built-in swimming pool – and my parents were very apprehensive about the cost of maintaining such an extravagance when they doubted they could afford the house itself. So they considered filling in the pool with dirt, and planting grass over it.
But come on, let’s be real, a built-in pool, and you are going to fill it in without even trying it for a summer? So we finally convinced my parents to let us have it for one year. And it was in that summer that I married Janet, and also fell in love with the pool. We had many special times at the house, and I found that I had an unusual ability to hold my breath and swim underwater. In fact, I held the record in the family for swimming more than 160′ – 4 pool lengths, without coming up for air.
And the more time I spent in the water, the more I enjoyed holding my breath, swimming to the deep end of the pool, 10′ under the surface, and expelling all the air from my lungs. I can still remember lying on the bottom of the pool, and feeling the smooth concrete on my legs and arms as I just stayed there and contemplated whatever happened to cross my mind. Of course, eventually, I would start to drift to the surface as the need for air increased and I could not stay on the bottom any longer. And upon surfacing, I would gasp for breath, and try to descend again. But it was a chore, and I could never get that feeling of peace back once I had drifted off the bottom.
And that is how it has sometimes been with my closeness to God. That when I remove myself from the cares of the world, and am quiet and still alongside God, I find peace and divine comfort. But invariably, sooner or later, I start to drift away from God. Try as I might, I am pulled away by some unidentifiable force and the same feeling embraces me that I felt so many years ago as I drifted to the surface of the pool. I want to stay connected to God, but it is not to be. And I gasp, and try to return to that place of peace that I had so much enjoyed.
I long for those times, like the memories of those summers back in the ’70’s. And sometimes I envy those people who seem able to stay close to God for long periods of time, as if they could hold their breath forever. I want that so much. But on the other hand, the closeness is even sweeter when it happens, because I know that being in that special place with God is elusive, and special, and sometimes fleeting. So I enjoy it whenever God surprises me with His special time for me.
How I long to feel God’s presence with me all the time. I am reminded of Rev. 21:3-4, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Can you imagine such an intimate encounter with God?
So my prayer today is that God will be your air supply, now and forever, and that you will never be separated from God, even for an instant. He is all you need – and you can depend on that. For God Himself says that “the old order of things has passed away” and in Rev. 21:5, He promises “I will make everything new.”