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Everybody needs an oasis

Jessica -- three years after swim lessons

Jessica -- three years after swim lessons

When my daughters were learning how to swim years ago, it was important for me to stretch their measure of courage without placing them in danger of drowning.

First with Jessica and a couple of years later with Melissa, I’d stand in part of a pool that was deeper than they could touch with their feet. I’d then ask them to jump in and swim (actually splash and kick) to me, reassuring them that I would grab them and let them relax for a moment before they made their way to the other side.

You see, as small children uncertain of their ability to make it across the pool without help, I was a vital oasis of hope and strength.

They did make it to me every time and then, after a few moments of recharge, they’d make it to the other side.

The day came, of course, when they didn’t need me in the middle of the pool.

When it comes to Jessica’s and Melissa’s spiritual lives, however, they will always need their Abba Father in the middle of the pool we call life.

You see, every believer needs that oasis of hope and strength in dangerous places too deep for us stand on our own.

We can jump into life, splashing and kicking with great fervor, yet we cannot reach the other side without help.

The divide is just too great to be overcome by human effort.

Even if our spiritual stroke is more polished and focused than others in the pool, we’re still going to grow weary at times and start sinking, usually after we also started swimming the wrong direction.

That’s why we need our Abba Father as an oasis, calling us to Him for strength and for direction.

I could, of course, use all sorts of metaphors here about threats to us while we’re in the pool but I won’t because I’m sure you get the point.

I share this imagery today because of what occurred to me while reading the One-Year Bible this morning.

You know that I’m reading through the book of Job. It’s a book filled with an abundance of content that describes discouraging conditions and tainted motives by three men who transformed from friends over to foes.

It would be easy to label Job’s experience in this book as swimming with anchors.

I’ve done that before during boating excursions and I can tell you that it is nearly impossible to keep your head above water unless you furiously and unsustainably kick and paddle with all your might.

Yet, in the midst of the wide, stormy ocean of turmoil, Job periodically finds his Abba Father.

And it’s enough to recharge him until he reaches the next moment of desperate need which — by the way — is where God will be waiting.

In Job 16:18-20, the wounded saint records these words laid on his heart by the Holy Spirit:

Even now my witness is in heaven;

my advocate is on high.

My intercessor is my friend

as my eyes pour out my tears to God;

On behalf of a man he pleads with God

as a man pleads for his friend.

My goodness.

Job found great comfort in the knowledge that — though all on earth had abandoned him — there was an advocate standing face-to-face with God and pleading for help to be sent directly from the throne of heaven.

This wasn’t just some “Dear occupant” junk mail prayer tossed at God’s feet.

This was an active, interceding, passionate friend to Job who was speaking to God with the passion and precision of a skilled attorney.

Like I said… my goodness.

Talk about finding an oasis in the midst of a deep ocean of turmoil!

Talk about hope for me in the storm-tossed, fatigue-burdened moments in my life!

I found another oasis this morning within Job’s words, an oasis that clearly allowed Job to catch his emotional and spiritual breath as he struggled through the stormy waters.

It’s in Job 19:25-27. It’s incredibly powerful. But it’s something you’ll have to read on your own by clicking here.

You see, it’s time to wrap up this Morning Devotion.

I’ve got some more swimming to do.

When you’re done reading the passage above, I pray that you’ll start swimming by my side.

What great stories we’ll share when we reach the other side.

As always, I love you

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