By Rae Lynn DeAngelis

Initially my mom’s proposition to attend swim lessons resulted in numerous tears and pleadings. Sure, I wanted to know how to swim like my big brother and sister, but learning from a perfect stranger terrified me. Luckily my parents discerned what was truly best and signed me up for swim lessons anyway.

Memories of my swim coach are alive and well in my mind to this day. He was mean! (Or at least that was my five year old perception of him.) He made me swim in deep water—something which terrified me.

The day of our last swim lesson, the coach instructed us to swim the width of the pool all by ourselves in the deep end. The coach threw us into the water. We didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. It was sink or swim. Thankfully, I chose to swim.

Keep in mind that we only had to swim the width of the pool, but somewhere along the way I became disoriented and ended up swimming the entire length of the pool. When I came up out of the water, I was shocked to see where I had landed. What a boost to my confidence!

My little swim lesson became a life lesson.

“The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:13b-14)

Similar scenarios have played out in my life over and over. I might become angry, scared, or even frustrated when God calls me to carry out something that I don’t feel capable of doing. With grumbling and complaining I try and talk my way out of it, but eventually, God throws me in the deep end and I have a choice—sink or swim.

“The LORD will fulfill his purposes for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.” (Psalm 138:8)

We are often surprised by the end results when God moves us away from our comfort zone. Before we know it, our fears are conquered, and we accomplish more than we ever thought possible.

God uses opportunities such as these to grow and strengthen our faith. What we are powerless to accomplish on our own, we more than conquer through Him who loves us.

“Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” (Psalm 89:8)

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” (1 Timothy 1:12)

God continues to stretch us beyond our comfort zone because He wants us to have deep water faith.