Whatever You Do, Don’t Let Go

Whatever you do, don’t let go,” my cousin, Judy, turned and called back to me. “Grab two fists full of mane, grip hard, and hold on.”

            “But I can’t swim,” I shrieked, wide eyes staring at her back.

            “Don’t worry, I can. If anything happens, I’ll dive in and save you,” she said. Splashing drowned out her voice when, as she nudged her horse, the two plunged into the pond to escape the summer heat. The pair swam to the deep end with little more than heads above water.

            Fearless teenagers – as least that described Judy. Me? Umm, not so much.

I hesitated in doubt as fear washed over me, even though I trusted Judy and knew she swam well. In that moment, I faced a choice – dive all in, or turn away. Should I accept her invitation while uncertain of the water, or be left behind and miss the moment?

Sometimes being faithful to the Lord can feel this way. We’re riding along comfortably in our Christian walk, and suddenly we’re facing a situation when fear and doubt wash over us.

Remember Peter? I love Peter. He climbed out of the boat and walked toward Jesus in the middle of raging winds and waves. Seeing someone walking on the water in the middle of the sea, the disciples cried out in fear assuming Jesus was a ghost. What did Jesus say? He said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27, NIV).

I love that, don’t you? Don’t be afraid.

Peter then calls to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matt 14:28) When Jesus told Peter to come, Peter just bailed right out of the boat.  

Considering his impulsive nature, I imagine Peter climbing overboard without thought or hesitation. Though his faith weakened in his doubt, he chose to leave the boat and seek Jesus. Peter didn’t miss the moment, he seized it. When his fear of the wind and waves threatened to drown him, he doubted and began to sink. Then what did he do? He called out for Jesus. Jesus reached out and grabbed Peter to keep him from drowning. (Matthew 14:23-33).

Is there any doubt Peter held firm to the saving grasp of Jesus? Wouldn’t you?

Do you?

Do you believe what you know about the Lord? Do you trust Him? Do you truly believe He will dive in and lift you out of the murky water when you slip, fall or even sink?

Will you tighten your grip and hold on or will you turn and walk away? When God extends an invitation, will you dive all in, or will you miss the moment? Will you allow logic, circumstances, or uncertainty hold you back? Or will you dive in head first, hold tight, and swim with all our might?

Will you hold on no matter what?

Don’t say it.

Don’t say, “Yeah, but…” I already hear you.

            “Yeah, but you don’t know my circumstances.”

True. But I know God. I know He will never leave you nor forsake you. Nothing surprises God because He already knows. Remember the story of Job? God knew all Job would endure in advance. In fact, God allowed it and even limited Satan’s attacks on this “perfect and upright man.” (Job 1:1-12, NIV)

That day on my favorite horse, I decided to follow my cousin’s lead. Taking a deep breath, I put on a brave face, grabbed two fists full of mane, and gigged my horse in the sides. I gripped my calves tight around the girth as he swam the deep murky waters. Sweat from the saddle we removed only minutes before made gripping around the middle a challenge. I even slipped significantly as my horse lunged up the embankment.

But I made it.

More than that, the experience left me refreshed, revived, and renewed. I prepared for a repeat. No fear. I fully expected to dive back into that pond without a second thought before my uncle stopped us from repeating the pleasure.

Don’t be afraid to dive all in when God calls or extends the invitation to join Him.  The experience may leave you refreshed, revived and renewed in your relationship with our Lord.

Please hear my heart. When waters are deep, waves are high, and the raging storms of life threaten to overtake you, find comfort knowing God is aware of your trials long before you face them. Call out to him. Trust him. Remain in Him. Allow Him to carry you safely to the other side. Weather the storm. Tread the water. Allow yourself to be carried into a deeper relationship with the Lord.

Whatever you do…

Don’t. Let. Go.

Rita Halter Thomas is a staff writer for Prophecy Simplified, providing HOLD ON Stories to encourage you to hold on to your faith. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of a college missions major.  She is also an award-winning writer, the founder of The Write Editor, http://thewriteeditor.com, and a former newspaper and magazine publisher with 23 years’ experience in print and digital media. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.