Thursday, September 19, 2013

In The Water - Finding Courage in Times of Trouble

On Sunday I finished an olympic distance triathlon.  But I almost quit 100 yards into the swim because terror gripped me in a way that is hard to describe.  Out of nowhere.  Completely irrational.  Paralyzing panic.  

Terror screamed, "GET OUT OF THE WATER NOW!" 

Wanna know the crazy part?  I was in no danger. I have covered a mile in the pool at least a dozen times pre-race.  Carissa was swimming inches away from me.  My husband and friend were standing on a pier a few feet away. A rescue boat was shadowing us as we swam around the lake.  I had several outlets available to help me in peril.  

In spite of this, I felt engulfed in a raging storm, suffocating under the weight of the terror. 

(Click here to watch a video of what fear looks like for me.)

Before the swim started YAHWEH, the God of the Israelites, brought to mind a verse from Isaiah 43.  

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you."

"When."  Not "if."  Storms will come.  But YAHWEH is with me.

A few hours after the triathlon, we went to church.  (To read more about the triathlon, click here.) Our pastor was preaching from a text at the end of Mark chapter 6.  Jesus comes to his  "terrified" followers in the middle of a raging storm on a lake.   

Hmmm....  I know nothing about being in the water and being terrified.

He says,  
"Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid."

Then gets in the boat WITH them and calms their storm.

In the morning YAHWEH.  In the evening Jesus.  Same God.  Same message.  

"Do not be afraid.  I am with you."

It makes me cry to think that my God cares enough to be with me in the water - literally and figuratively.  In the water and once I was safely on shore, the message was the same. 

 You are not alone.  I am with you.  Take courage.   

You may be "in the water" right now.  Terror surrounds you.  Hope seems lost.  

Take courage.  Do not be afraid.  Jesus is with you in the water.

Jesus offers courage to not give up.  Freedom from fear.  And victory once your feet are safely on the sandy shore.  

(Click here to watch a video of what victory looks like for me.)

To Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.


  1. This is beautiful, Jodi! Thank you for sharing both your fears and your triumph and the reminder that we are not alone. I LOVE this picture of you coming out of the water, victorious! And free of the fear...