A few years ago our family lived in Central Point, Oregon. Our house there had a 16-by-32-foot swimming pool so we would often have some of the folks from the church come over to swim. Many times, after working hard all day, I would be tired, hot, and miserable. On the way home in the evening, I’d entertain the thought of jumping in that pool. Instead, when I got home, I’d go sit on the patio in a chair and just look at it. Other people would come over. Some would walk up to the pool and stick a toe in to test the water. Some would put one foot in and pull it out quickly. Others would walk out and just jump into the deep end. One big splash, and they’d come up from the bottom and say, “Oh! This is great! Come on in!” On many occasions I’d just sit there, exhausted and hot, and reply, “No, I’m too tired.” They didn’t convince me. Despite my desire for a refreshing dip, I didn’t put forth the effort to plunge in.
Ezekiel 47 has a passage of Scripture that deals with “plunging in.” We read, “Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over” (Ezekiel 47:2-5).
This passage causes me to consider what it is like to dabble around the edges of the Gospel. It’s possible to be around the blessings of the Lord without fully appreciating what God has given.
This passage causes me to consider what it is like to dabble around the edges of the Gospel. It’s possible to be around the blessings of the Lord without fully appreciating what God has given. One can go to church, sing the songs, and smile as big as the next person. Everyone else might think everything is going great, but inside there is misery, and I can say that from experience.
Ezekiel tells us, further on in that same chapter, that there are going to be some marshy places around the perimeter of the water, and I have been there spiritually before. Life isn’t enjoyable in the marshy areas. Thankfully, however, we do not have to stay there.
As we examine what happened when that man in Ezekiel began to measure, we find that he got out into some ankle-deep water that was living and moving. Maybe he’d been walking the dusty trails for a long time, so when he got out there in that cool water, it probably felt really good! The man measured out another thousand cubits, and suddenly the water was up to the knees. That must have felt even better. The water kept getting deeper, but the part I like the best is when the man measured out another thousand cubits, and it became water to swim in—water so deep Ezekiel didn’t know its depth, waters that overflowed him when he jumped in!
As we compare these waters to the Gospel, we realize that a spiritual parallel can be drawn. The question is, “What are we going to do about it?” Possibly we’ve been praying and living Christian lives for years, but have we been fully immersed in the glories of the Gospel? Or have we just stood around the edges observing, maybe just “sticking a toe in” from time to time? Are we thirsty right now? Do we desire something more from God, or are we one of those who is wading in ankle-deep water and has become satisfied with that? Yes, it feels good to know that we’re God’s children, but there are deeper depths to which God wants to take us. Whether we’ve been saved just a few days or for many years, we’re going to find out that the deeper we go, if we let the Spirit of God submerge us and take over our lives, we’re going to experience things so amazing that we won’t be able to explain them.
I felt that I had already consecrated my life fully to the Lord, but He wanted me to go even deeper. I realize now that He was trying to tell me, “Al, jump in! Just jump in! I’ve got something for you that you can’t even understand now.”
Three years ago, I was very sick for a period of many months. I remember the times at night when the pain was so great that I couldn’t even pray. Eventually, I had to learn to walk all over again. Sometimes at three in the morning I’d be sitting in my recliner in such misery that all I could say was, “Lord, help me!” Somehow, I recognized that God was working on me. I felt that I had already consecrated my life fully to the Lord, but He wanted me to go even deeper. I realize now that He was trying to tell me, “Al, jump in! Just jump in! I’ve got something for you that you can’t even understand now.”
I remember the night, as I was sitting there in pain and agony, that something within me plunged in. I can’t tell you exactly how it all happened, but something took a turn in my life that night. At one point I thought I might die, but God had other plans. I was still in terrible pain, but the Lord was doing something for me! I remember praying for my loved ones, my children, and the people in our church family. I would go down the list, and ask the Lord, “What is it going to take? I want to see them saved! I want to see them won into the Kingdom of Heaven. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but in some way speak to their hearts. Save them!”
Having prayed like this for some time, my wife finally pointed out that maybe my illness was how God was answering our prayers. With new resolve, I told God that if a sickness was what was needed to bring someone into the Kingdom, I would be willing. Not long after that, there was a turn in my physical condition. Suddenly, I began to get better! The pain began to subside. For eight months I hadn’t slept more than an hour in a twenty-four-hour period, but then one night I slept five hours. The next morning, I was absolutely flabbergasted. I realized that I had truly plunged in! Somehow, the Lord helped me to find deeper waters of the Gospel. I want to stay out here in that deep water.
If you’ve never plunged into the Gospel, if you’ve only waded around on the edges, or if you’ve become bogged down in the mud, listen! Get away from there, and begin to plunge in.
If you’ve never plunged into the Gospel, if you’ve only waded around on the edges, or if you’ve become bogged down in the mud, listen! Get away from there, and begin to plunge in. Get out where there is water to swim in. Get out to where God can do something in your life. If you don’t know that you’re saved and that your peace is made with God, there is an opportunity for you today. Yes, the water is available. It might only be ankle deep at first, but get in. Whatever it takes, get into it! Maybe you’re only knee deep. You can go a little deeper! The Lord has plenty there for all of us, and enough to spare, but there is something we have to do. We can’t stand by on the sidelines. We can’t just stick a toe in the water to see if it’s comfortable. We must throw our lives into service for the King, and then rejoice as the waves of His Gospel wash over us.
Let’s do it. Let’s just take a big, deep breath and jump. Whatever kind of splash it makes, it doesn’t matter. Forget about living around the edges. Get out where it’s deep, where you can fully enjoy the blessings of the Lord. Remember, it is His good pleasure to give His children the Kingdom. He’s more willing to give than we are to receive. With both feet, let’s jump in and prove that the Lord has something extra special for us.