Gone Snorkeling

Have you ever been to beautiful beach with bright white sand and ocean water clear as glass?  Its absolutely beautiful, and a reminder of God’s creative beauty.  Our boat (not mine, but the one our team had rented) pulled to a stop off the coast of Barbados.  We had spent a week under the hot sun playing sports with kids and sharing Jesus as often as we could.  Now we got the opportunity to literally cool off in the Atlantic.  Our guides handed each of us a life jacket and snorkel.  In just a few minutes we’d be swimming with amazingly colored fish and sea turtles! 

We helped each other get our gear on, and then one by one we jumped off the boat into the water.  It was a lot of fun, but I had some reservations.  I had to remind myself with my face in the water and my snorkel breaking the surface not to go all the way under.   Snorkel’s don’t work like scuba tanks.  Thankfully, I learned enough to know better than to breath underwater.  I’m sure this story would be more interesting if I had forgotten and got choked up, right? 

Think about the following verses for a second, and consider what they have in common…

The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.  Genesis 39:23

Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, … Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah…. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.  Daniel 1:3-8 (portions excerpted)

Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.  Luke 10:3

What do they have in common?  One thing is that Joseph, Daniel, and the 72 disciples of Jesus found themselves in the middle of culture that greatly differed from their home.  Joseph was in prison.  Daniel had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon.  The disciples were sent to the neighboring communities.  Living in an environment that does not share the same truths and values can seem like trying to breath underwater.  We aren’t made for that environment.  We are made for relationship with God who loves us and leads us.  But the world around us, especially our culture today, has compromised the truth and exchanged it for lies.  The culture we are raising our kids in largely has rejected the Bible and faith in Jesus.  Many are redefining truth to fit their own narratives and personal goals.  Perhaps you are struggling to know what is true anymore. 

How do we live in an environment that is increasingly hostile and opposed to what God has designed?  How do we prepare others, especially our kids?  Here are a few thoughts from the Bible to help. 

  1. Know the dangers. Jesus prepared the disciples to go out serving the needs of the communities and preaching the Gospel.  He told them that it would be dangerous, and many would reject them and their message.  These dangers do not need to derail us from living in the culture.  Instead these dangers remind us to be prepared. 

  2. Put on your snorkel and life jacket. Jesus taught the disciples the truth and demonstrated it through the miracles he did.  Teaching and learning the truths of God’s Word is like strapping on a snorkel to swim in the water.  We have what we need to navigate through this culture that denies what we believe.  Are you making sure your kids have a spiritual snorkel before they go out into this culture?  Do they know how to use it?  Do they know the truth of God’s Word, ready to lean on it? 

  3. Go swimming anyway. Joseph and Daniel did not have a choice in their environments.  Some of us don’t either.  Life is hard and sin has corrupted most things.  Church, we are not called to remove ourselves from people around us.  We are called to go into it with love and truth. 

  4. Resolve. When Daniel was confronted with a diet and education that differed greatly from the commands of God, he had a choice to make.  Will he cave under pressure (immense pressure) and deny his faith to do what he knew was against God’s will?  Or would he stand firm in his faith and remain faithful to God?  Would he be confrontational or diplomatic?  Daniel resolved to remain faithful even when most others conceded. 

  5. Trust God. Joseph’s circumstances seemed hopeless for so long.  Sold into slavery, taken from his home, and thrown into prison he must have felt abandoned by everyone, even God.  But we don’t see that in Scripture.  Instead we see Joseph faithfully doing what is right, and the presence of God was with him.  God helped Joseph and Joseph prospered even when all else seemed lost. 

Are you prepared to live in an increasingly unfaithful environment?  Are you learning the truth of God’s Word to be ready to stand firm in this culture?  How are you getting ready? 



Leave a Reply