I tried snorkelling once when I was a kid. After using it more like a straw than a breathing device, I gave up. During a recent Cretan holiday my interest was again peaked. Borrowing our friend’s snorkel I took a quick verbal lesson – breathe through your mouth and blow out if you start sucking salty water – easy.
Since junior school I have worn glasses, moving up to contact lenses later on. I’ve never been good at opening my eyes under water without lenses and, if anything, this is made worse whilst wearing them. So under the sea had remained unexplored for me. Seeing under water for the first time was incredible. I’d thought the sea was clear from above, but below the vague shapes I’d seen took form. And the only sound was my laboured breathing as I concentrated too hard on using my mouth not my nose! There was a whole world under the surface that I had previously been unaware of and was rapidly becoming lost in.
As I grew in confidence and wonder, I ventured deeper. Sand clouds rose from the sea bed in time with the tides, like a highly polished firework show. I played a game of tag with Nemo, all to the continued soundtrack of breath. And then: salt in my mouth – the sea, having finally caught me out, rushing down the snorkel and into my mouth. Not panicking, I blew as instructed and tried to stand up. It was when my feet failed to find solid ground that I realised I may have ventured a bit too deep, that in my enthusiasm I had lost sight of everything else.
Don’t worry, I survived that encounter with death to blog another day. But I did so wondering if I would ever be lost in God to that extreme. What does it look like to be so lost in God that everything else loses focus? The Bible tells us that all we know now about God is like looking in a dirty mirror and one day we will see clearly. But is there anything wrong with pressing your face against the glass to see as much as possible? I’m a reasonable swimmer so I wasn’t in any danger with my snorkelling, but would being that lost in God be dangerous? Would we recognise it as danger or a sign that we were doing something right? When the disciples encountered danger and persecution because of Christ Acts 5:41 tells us:
‘The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.’
It’s not just me wondering this – there are others too. But being that lost in God scares me. It would not afford me the control I usually desire, and I’m scared about what it may mean for my comfortable, cushy life. How much easier it would be if God held my head against that cloudy mirror so I had to see Him as clearly as I could. How easy it would be if He lay a breadcrumb path for me to follow through this life. If He told me what to say and how to act specifically in every situation. Easy? Yes? Worthwhile? No. Forced devotion is no devotion at all.