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Graceful Floating
Photo: Michael Gray
I’ve never been very good at floating. On my back in a swimming pool, I can keep my face out of the water only by paddling constantly with my hands or feet. If I stop moving for just a second, I start to sink! This tends to make attempting to float more stressful than relaxing.

Last month, however, I had an entirely different experience. I had the opportunity to visit Hawaii, where clear turquoise waves lapped white sandy beaches under a cloudless sky. There, I discovered that the warm waves were more than just beautiful—they allowed me to float! Relaxing back into the seawater, I realized that I was far more buoyant than in fresh water. All I had to do was lean back and let the water hold me up.

Supported by the Ocean

Don’t get me wrong: at first, I was still nervous. I spread my arms far out to my sides, and squeezed my eyes tightly shut so that they wouldn’t fill with saltwater. I breathed rapidly through my mouth, wanting to avoid a nose-full in the event that I should start to sink. I soon realized, however, that I wasn’t even close to sinking. Every inch of me was supported by the ocean! I began to relax, breathing more freely and opening my eyes to gaze at the azure expanse above me. The tension seeped steadily out of my body as my arms drifted closer to my sides and the warm waves gently rocked me into a state of complete relaxation.

As I floated there, supported on the surface of the water through no effort of my own, I began to think about grace. The apostle Paul writes about grace that “it would no longer be grace” if it were “by works” (Romans 11:5). Grace is not something we do for ourselves, or can earn by simply trying harder. In fact, it’s in our own inability that grace is revealed. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul shares God’s message that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It was when I relaxed completely that I felt the power of the water supporting me. Tensing up or paddling frantically would not only be pointless, but would deny me the opportunity to rest in the water’s consistent embrace.

If you’re like me, you can be pretty good at that frantic paddling, feeling like you’re struggling to keep your head above water. But God’s grace is as consistent as the lift of the ocean water, as constant, and as free. We are already supported in the palm of God's hand (John 10:29). What an amazing gift!

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By C. Myers. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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