There are precious few things in life that we can truly throw ourselves into with abandon, and not get hurt. In fact, I’d argue that there’s only one (I’ll get to that later). Saturday I went to a delightful three year old friend’s birthday celebration at a local gymnastics studio. The entire floor is covered in a tactile extravaganza of buoyant adventure. A straight walk across the room leads you over a trampoline, across a spring loaded, padded tumbling floor, and then through a thick plush vinyl covered piece of foam. I was enthralled.
True confession coming here: I’m rather inhibited with my body. Call it the outward expression of an inward reality- I was pretty bound for a long time. So you can imagine my utter shock when I spotted the pit of foam blocks and was instantly compelled to throw myself in. No hesitation, no calculating, I just fell in. Call it an outward symptom again. Now that I’m new and being made whole, the body is following the cue of the soul. Flow right in, fearless. Enjoy. Those blocks came giggling up around, patting me on the shoulders and snuggling in with welcome and delight. I was surprised; taken aback. The thing is that I’ve leapt before and found the landing not so soft. You have too. A thousand times over. We’ve jumped whole-souled into a job, a spouse, a friend, a church, a new hope; only to be met, not with a whole sea of pure welcome-safety, but a mixed bag of softness and shards, gentleness and glass. The landing is never all soft.
Truth be told, I think I only jumped because I saw my three and four year old comrades diving in head first. The children don’t have torn shoulders and bruised old hips to guard. They don’t have jaded pasts and cynical souls. They fling themselves right in. Faith like a child. Cast yourself in. The water’s fine.
The delicious softness of those blocks has haunted me. I want it again. Part of me thinks that the outer me is longing for the physical mirror of what my soul has found, or more properly, has been finding. I’m learned to fling myself faster and faster into the wide-gulf arms of God. And I’ve found Him utterly soft. Enveloping, just like that foam. Perfect comfort. Consistent buoyant laughter. Safety. Not a sharp edge to wound me. Just delight. Adventure. Awe. Play. Home. I’m convinced that He is the only…yes…only…thing we can fling ourselves into without a second thought and not get hurt. Jump in, worry later (if you ever get around to it).
I do not mean to say that nothing that hurts us happens when we follow God. Because that is certainly not the case: Christ was crucified, and many of His first generation followers paid with their lives. What I mean is that when my soul approaches the throne of Most High God, I can run to Him with no hesitation, collide into His chest, look up in His face, and find no threat of being turned away. I need fear no rejection, or wounding unto death. He will never deal harshly with me when I have run, prodigal-son-like into His arms.
The faster I fling myself down into Him with utter belief, the faster and further I’m renewed, comforted, invigorated, healed; and the faster He comes up around me with all of Himself and transports me into another world- one of His multicolored love and delightful joy.
Blocks, foam blocks. Follow the children. It’s safe to go in. It’s safe to play. The only way you can really get to hurt is to hurl yourself against Him, not into Him; in unbelief, to dash yourself against His body instead of enfolding yourself into His presence and love. You can raise a fist or open it, run to Him or rail, repent or repudiate. We are all given our choice. A pit of foam love, or a pit of despair. He will offer us what we want, and He will let us each have it. To those who would have Him, He calls us to run off into the depths of delight.
So, you who are Abba’s children, can I wave you in?
Can I shout your name and call you: Sarah, and Cindy, and Ann, and Holly, and Mary, and Gail, and Amy, and Shayne, and David, and Emily- and all of us standing on the edges- to come laughing, and to sail off with limbs flying? To clutch His Word against our chests, and forward roll right off the edge into Trust; into the only Thing in all of life that is guaranteed soft, and sure, and endlessly available.
-(just in case you want to see a foam pit in action….here ya go!) –