For a couple of years on and off I have been swimming and trying my best to repeat simple mantras as I do so. I’ve done lap after lap focusing on that ancient line Lord Jesus Christ Have Mercy on Me or some other short easy to repeat prayer or verse. Despite my best intentions, I spend most the time counting 1-2-3 breathe-1-2-3-breathe, and getting lost in the pure blissful cadence of breathing made intentional. Sometimes, however, I manage to ignore the breathing pattern, the number of laps I have done, or how much time has gone by, and simply focus on Jesus.
Many of my better sermon ideas have come to me while either swimming or running so I suppose there has been a strong spiritual link between my body and soul over the last year. The other day though I saw something for the first time while I was swimming. It was the sort of thing that makes you wonder how you missed it for so long, like how could that possibly have always been there without your knowing it. Each lane has paint on the ground, a simply fat black line you are to follow. At the end of the pool the line climbs off the floor and up onto the wall and ends in the shape of…a cross. The photo embedded in this post is an example of what I am talking about. It will be familiar to many swimmers, the cross on the wall, the place where you turn.
The analogy is so clean it boggles the mind of this minister. The cross is in all our lives whether we know it or not. Whether we notice Jesus calling and offering us His Grace or not, he is there clearly in our view. When we think we are alone and can be at our worse, he is there, when things go wrong and we feel terrible about what we have done, when a good deed turns sour, or when are suffering through something, he is there invisible in plain sight.
When we meet him there, whether for the first time or the thousandth, he calls us to turn, to change our direction or our outlook. If you swim like me you are often near drowning (or so you think) by the time you get to that wall, with that cross on it that calls on you to turn around.
Next time you go for a swim, or hit a wall, look around and see if you can find Him, He’s like Waldo, always there in plain sight.