Swimming Backwards With God – Rev. Susan Walker
Genesis 18:14 (NIV)
Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
I like to swim, but one thing I could never do was the backstroke. I would sit by the pool and wonder, “How do people do it?” It seemed impossible to me. I tried and tried but it was too hard.
First of all, you’re swimming backward and can’t see where you’re going. Everything in me said that was wrong. My body wanted to go forward, not backward, and I wanted to know what was ahead! Your legs are supposed to kick together while your arms alternate swinging backward one at a time, left, right, left, right…trying to keep from sinking. That’s kind of like trying to pat your head, rub your stomach, and walk all at the same time.
You had to remember to breathe through your nose – not your mouth, or water will go down your throat. It was very important to try to swim straight and watch for the flags hanging over the pool that tell you that you are almost at the wall. If I missed that – BANG – my head would run into the wall.
The backstroke had too many things going on at the same time, and I always thought it was impossible. Maybe other people could do it, but not me. If anyone had told me that I would be very good at swimming backward when I was 64, I would have laughed! Yeah right….that’s impossible,
That’s what Sarah did. When God told her she would have a son at age 90, she laughed! Yeah, right……that’s impossible. She saw her limitations and accepted them. “Abraham and I are too old. It’s too late for me.” Having a baby at her age was too hard. She could not imagine that would ever happen. God knew her thoughts, and said: “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”
Many of us feel like Sarah. We let our age dictate possibilities, and leave God out of the equation. When we are at or past midlife, we have tried many things that did not work, and so we don’t try them again. “I’ve been there, done that, and I’m not going to try again.” We never know when a breakthrough will come. Sometimes God will show up when we least expect him. We forget that God is still in the miracle-working business.
About a year ago I decided to try the backstroke one more time. I was bored with my other swimming work-out, and I prayed, “Lord, help me get this.” To my surprise – He did!
This time I concentrated on the fact that the water is holding me up, so I don’t have to fight to stay afloat. The Holy Spirit is with us in all we do. We need to relax and let God help us make it through a challenge. I learned to follow the vertical beams in the gym ceiling to swim straight. If we let God lead us, we will have a better direction in our pursuits.
Take one thing at a time! I concentrated on my kicking first, and once I had that down, I added the movement of my arms. Order my steps in Your Word, dear Lord, order my steps in your word. Sometimes we can’t do everything all at once. Our breakthrough comes in stages.
I focused on keeping my mouth closed, so I naturally breathed through my nose. Sometimes if we will just be quiet and listen, other things will work better.
Today I am swimming backward with God with an ease I never believed possible. I do 20 laps backwards several times a week, and I am laughing in amazement at how it all comes together like it never did before. The same God that did it for me will do it for you, too.
Rev. Susan Walker is the Pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and Guest Columnist for L Town Radio www.emanuelreformedchurch.com