Sunday, September 15, 2013

in this river, swimming, nearly drowning

These are hard days. They're good days; don't get me wrong. But I find myself in a season of my faith where I am especially aware of being unworthy of the God I worship. Today—right now—as I sit in church surrounded by people who don't appear on the surface to struggle as I do, I am tempted to look down on these, my brothers and sisters, for seeming to feel so confident of their relationship with the Almighty Creator of the world. If I come off as condescending or elitist, please see through it. Please see through to the small little man who is terrified of his faith.

Some of you who read this blog don't share my faith. I understand that. Honestly, I often envy you. If I felt the choice were truly open to me, I might also choose a different belief.
But faith, as I experience it, is like swimming in a swiftly raging river. I choose how to swim or where (whether with the current or against). Perhaps I even chose to jump into this torrent, once upon a time. But now it has me, and I go where it directs, no matter my choices. I feel the apostles words down deep in my bowels, somewhere deeper than my heart and lungs: "I am not my own; I have been bought at a price."

Sometimes, I hate this river. I long for the peace and calm of the shore, or I envy those who seem to ride these waves so leisurely. But I am drowning. My head sometimes rises above the waters, but usually it thrashes just below the surface, sometimes banging against the rocks and threatening me with unconsciousness.

Other times, however, I realize that this river is taking me somewhere I cannot reach on my own, somewhere I could not get to from the safety of river's edge. If I fought long enough, hard enough, I could remove myself from this flow. But the only thing that scares me more than this river is the loss of the feel of its current driving me forward, closer to the One who directs its course. So I continue to struggle, not to remove myself from this river, but to keep myself from drowning in its furious foam.


  1. Well said, Rafael. I have felt something similar to this many times in recent years.

  2. Parenthood is that river for me right now. Striving to keep trusting.