• The Deep Breath Before The Plunge

    Have you ever gone swimming? I recall a time going swimming on the Northern California Coast. Most tend to imagine a bright sunny day with waves gently lapping up against the yellow beaches as people play and laugh, dousing each other with the warm salty waters of the Pacific. I was not at that beach, nor was it sunny. It was a cold September day on a beach surrounded by rocky cliffs carved out by the brutal pounding surf from angry waves. A sign was posted that kept count of how many deaths occurred that year. The count was a “modest” 23 drownings. If you know anything about waves, you know that there are different kinds; cutter waves, sleeper waves and plunging waves that could pull you out to sea in a hurry. Not only was this shore surrounded by cliffs, but the waves proved to be tricky and unpredictable. Shear cliffs on either side, with one large rock formation jutting straight up between the two cliffs, left from erosion and acted as a gathering point for the pounding surf. Waves would gain power on each side as they struck the cliff sides, and then focus right into the middle as they met the small beach, creating magnificent waves. When wading waist deep, the ocean appeared tame, but as the water pulled out to sea, I was drug with enormous power, taking my feet right from under me. Before I knew what hit me, the returning sea met the waves coming in, and a wave three times my height slammed me into the ground, then sent me summersaulting right up to the cliff that marked the end of the beach. I was taken by such surprise, because I literally felt my body slam into the rock, and just then, as the surf idled, I felt the undertow dragging me mercilessly into another oncoming wave. Over and over again, I was thrown back and forth like bait on a fly reel. There were moments where I felt the promise of a deep breath, and then it would be robbed by another merciless wave. I recall that what  I wanted more than anything, as the salty sandy water dominated my lungs and sight, was a breath. I wanted to breathe  so badly. I wanted to suck that life giving air into my depraved lungs, but the ocean only teased me like a ruthless bully.

    What seemed like ages was a mere spatter of time in reality. There was far more drama playing on internally than reality permits, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

    Wednesday marks the downhill momentum after Judas betrayed Christ. It is a day of silence on the part of the Holy Gospels. Nothing is recorded. Silence. It is “the deep breath before the plunge” (to borrow terminology from The Lord of The Rings: Return of The King). This is a day of reflection. A moment of self assessment concerning what Jesus taught on Monday and Tuesday. It is a day to ask yourself hard questions.

    Jesus spent long seasons in prayer, especially before difficult moments in ministry. He took a deep breath before heading into the treacherous waters of demon-incensed religious and secular opposition. Jesus commanded His disciples, on the night He was betrayed, “Watch and pray”.

    Are you fast asleep under the active work of the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you even aware of it? Take heed lest you fall prey to the waves of difficulty and doubt devising to snatch your very breath away. Seek God while He may still be found. Take the breath of life before you plunge into the dark waters, for that is where you will desire breath and life the most.

    Christian! seek not yet repose,
    Hear thy guardian angel say;
    Thou art in the midst of foes;
    Watch and pray.

    Principalities and powers,
    Mustering their unseen array,
    Wait for thy unguarded hours;
    Watch and pray.

    Gird thy heavenly armor on,
    Wear it ever night and day;
    Ambushed lies the evil one;
    Watch and pray.

    Hear the victors who o’ercame;
    Still they mark each warrior’s way;
    All with one clear voice exclaim,
    Watch and pray.

    Hear, above all, hear thy Lord,
    Him thou lovest to obey;
    Hide within thy heart His Word,
    Watch and pray.

    Watch, as if on that alone
    Hung the issue of the day;
    Pray that help may be sent down;
    Watch and pray.

    Christian! Seek Not Yet Repose

    Charlotte Elliott 1836.

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