Darkness surrounds me, complete darkness, black as night. I struggle at first and then I just go limp, like the life has been sucked out of me. At first I begin to shiver. Then I feel cold, and then colder until my entire body becomes numb. I am so concerned with the loss of feeling in my limbs that I barely notice I can’t breathe. At that moment I begin gasping for air, but none can be found.
It would just be easier to stop trying, to just allow the darkness and the numbness to overtake me. But something inside urges me on, wants me to fight, fight for my very life. But why should I fight? This darkness is much greater than I can handle, much more than I can bear. You see, I’ve been pushed into the deep end and I can’t even swim!
The trials of life keep pulling me under and I can’t breathe! It’s as if there’s an anchor tied to my feet pulling me further and further down into the deep. I am gripped with fear! But when all seems lost, I catch a glimpse of light at the surface. I struggle to reach toward it but the weight is so heavy, it continues to pull me down! I look toward the light and I begin kicking, kicking as hard as I can… if I could just get my head above the water, if I could only get another breath, I might just make it. I’m running out of air… I’m dying here, can’t you see, I’m dying here Lord? My strength is fading fast.
My throat begins to burn now, and my muscles are weak, and I’m so tired, so tired. I can’t go on, not on my own… I have nothing left to give. So, is this the end? Is this all there is? Are you just going to leave me here, dying and all alone? It seems that as soon as I feel I’m getting closer to the surface, closer to the light, the weight pulls me down once again, dragging me back into the darkness.
Glimpses of my existence flash in front of me. My loved ones, my husband, my children, their faces begin to slowly fade away. All I am and all that I am to be play in my mind like a movie stuck in fast forward. So I accept my defeat, I begin to let go, to give up. But my need for air, for relief, overcomes my desire to quit and I make one last effort of kicking, as hard as I can! Even though I’m exhausted, I fight to survive.
The light is visible again and I strain toward it. My efforts become easier now… like something, or someone is pulling me from the depths towards the surface! The weight seems lighter. I’m almost there… just a little bit farther, please I have to breathe! Then suddenly, I break the surface, gasping for the air, that cool, crisp, life-giving air! You saved me! You pulled me from the depths of my trials, the darkness of my sin! You saved me! I continue to breathe You in! I can’t get enough!
But I want out! I have to get out of this water that holds me captive, that almost brought me to my death! I so desperately want to leave, but I can’t see! My eyes… my eyes they are burning and foggy! I have no sense of direction! But they are clearing now… yes, I can finally see… it’s You. You are holding me! But how can this be? The anchors, the weights that were once tied to my feet… I see them now – hanging around your neck!
I’m floating now… inhaling and exhaling, inhaling and exhaling….
Now I understand… I understand that I must remain in the water. At times, in the shallow waters where it’s much easier to tread. And other times, in the deep – sometimes even way in over my head… and it’s very scary. But I know now that I can make it… and I’m learning to swim. I realize that You are my air, You are my life-preserver, You are my everything! And if I just keep kicking…. keep kicking…keep breathing…keep trusting… thankyou!
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
**Dramatic reading written by Dayna Schrock