Oswald Chambers said that faith is deliberate confidence in the character of a God whose ways you may not understand at the time.
I like that. I like that faith is not just a shot in the dark—a frantic grasping at something unknown. While the circumstances may be uncertain, our God is not. We can be confident in His character. We can trust our Father’s heart.
That’s what faith is, isn’t it? It’s being that child who launches himself into his father’s arms, never doubting that his daddy will be faithful to catch him.
I’ve watched a lot of children interact with their fathers. I’ve had a lot of children place their unwavering trust in me. Believe me when I say that kids don’t hesitate, not once you’ve earned their implicit trust. They don’t stand at the drop-off and wonder if this will be the one time you fail to catch them. They just jump.
I remember so clearly that day at the beach. I was maybe eight or nine at the time—old enough that I should have been confident enough to play in the ocean waves, but I wasn’t. I never did like water. I always did fear the unknown.
So I sat on the shore and watched my family splash in the surf until my dad decided he wanted me to be more than an observer in our family vacation. I was hesitant, but he promised he wouldn’t let anything happen to me. He promised he wouldn’t let go of my hand.
When that wave washed over my head and ripped me from his grasp, I was angry. There I was, somersaulting through the surf, wondering when I would finally get the opportunity to breathe again, and thinking of how my father had betrayed me. He promised nothing would happen. He promised he wouldn’t let go.
I think we have it on video… that moment where I stormed back to shore and buried my face in my knees because I didn’t want to look at my dad after that. But when I think back to that day at the ocean, I realize that maybe Dad wasn’t the one who let go. Maybe in that moment the water crested above my head and my mind started screaming at me to retreat, I did exactly that. Instead of bracing myself for impact, I let go of my father’s hand.
And my feet came up, and my head went down, and the sky and the sand and the sky came to meet me over and over again. And when I finally came up, sputtering for breath, I was too disoriented to realize that he had been right there all along, reaching to pull me back to my feet, keeping his promise that he wouldn’t leave me alone in the ocean.
This happened with my earthly father only once, but I cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve braved the waves with my Heavenly Father only to find myself running scared when the waters rise above my head.
I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’ve stopped accusing Him of being the one to let me go under, but I don’t know if I’ve quite reached the point where I fully trust Him to hold me steady when the waves come crashing down.
But I want to.
Because I don’t want to be afraid of life. I don’t want to be beaten by the waves. I want to live with deliberate confidence in my Father’s character. I want to face the ocean with Him. I want to say to the entirety of the sea, “You cannot defeat me.” Not because I am stronger than the tides, but because my Father commands them.
I wonder what it would have looked like that day at the beach had I not turned back toward shore when that wave began to swallow me. I wonder what would have happened if I had clung to my father’s arm instead. I wonder if I would have opened my eyes to find us standing safely on the other side.
It’s too late for my childhood self, but not too late for the Rebekah who wades the oceans of life with the God who spoke them into being.
So as this next wave rises above my head, I don’t think of retreat.
My Father has my hand. My Father has my heart. My Father has my faith.
We go under.