Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dive In

Summer, with its lazy days, beautiful hikes, afternoon swims, and fresh lemonade is coming to an end. School days are nearly upon us, but our family is enjoying one last excuse to stay up late together as our eyes are turned toward the historical Olympic events taking place in China. We have found ourselves in awe with the rest of the world at the art and beauty of the opening ceremonies. We have engaged in discussions of the incredible contrast between the beauty of the games and the darkness so many face as they live under the oppressive Chinese government. We have prayed in hope for our pastors and friends who have gone through the open door of the Olympic games into China, encouraging and strengthening the hearts of persecuted Christians there. And we have rooted and cheered for the athletes who have trained so hard to be a part of this unfolding drama.

As we have watched swimmers, gymnasts, volleyball players, divers, cyclists, etc., many thoughts and analogies come to mind. One that has most impressed me though relates to the world of swimming. As I listened to the commentators speak of the great starts, the beautiful strokes, the powerful turns, the big finishes, my mind wandered back to my childhood years. Growing up under the shadows of my great swimming brother, I have no memory of not knowing how to swim. The privilege of cooling off in our own indoor pool prepared me to join him on the swim team at an early age. Step by step I learned strokes, kicks, turns, then starts. Endurance was built as I swam long distances with intervals of hard fast sprints. The basics were refined to create a better, faster, more streamlined race. "No pain, no gain," was the motto often quoted by my coach. There was always room for improvement, always room for growth. Likewise is my walk with the Coach of my soul, my Savior. I love how F.J. Huegel puts it in his book Bone of His Bone; "Mature Christians who have experienced an inner crucifixion, and who know what it means to count upon Christ's death, reckoning themselves dead to sin, and alive unto God through Christ, even after a lapse of years, are led to discover deeper depths of the 'self life'...However deep they may have gone, Calvary has for them still undreamed of depths of crucifixion. It is both a position once and for all taken by an act of faith, in which the believer commits himself to the place God assigns in the death of His Son, and a process of growth in which the believer appropriates, according to his need, an ever deeper life of communion with the Savior's death." To know Him and be conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10) is my life long journey. May I be ready each day to dive in with all that I am.


Jo said...

This post is such a beautiful ode to Summer and the Olympics... I'm so amazed by your beautiful blog... it's ravishing as are your words and thoughts.

Jacqueline said...

Jo, your encouraging comments mean so much to me, from one who writes so beautifully yourself. Thank you.

Jenny said...

Hi Jackie!
I don't think I ever knew what a gift you had with written doesn't surprise me, though! We all are inspired by the spiritual applications that can be drawn from the Olympics, but I know for you, having been a swimmer, that you would especially find a connection! The need for endurance and commitment from an athlete has always been a great challenge for me as a believer. "Let us know, let us PRESS ON to know the Lord!" "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us!" Praying for you and yours as you press on this week!
Love, Jenny

Jacqueline said...

Thanks Jenny for your encouragement and your prayers.