Moving Beyond the Shallows

Jesus invites us to plunge in, to go deep, to experience Him in all His fullness. But I think we find it easier to just skim . . . to slum along in the shallows. I know I do.

It’s hard when I can’t “see” what He’s doing. When everything looks like it is tinged with corruption, when it seems like the darkness is snuffing out all light and evil is winning every victory.

When all I see is pain and suffering, I can lose sight of what I know to be true. 

I don’t like walking through seasons of darkness and suffering, but I think part of going deeper with Jesus includes experiencing the fellowship of sufferings. And that will include exposure to the brutality of evil. I hate that part.

When I enter the shallow end of the pool, everything is easy. I’m not in fear of drowning; the steps leading out of the pool are easily accessible. The water is calm and easy to manage—I’m not having to fight to keep my head afloat in a 3-foot environment.

Living in the shallows is easy. 

What gets more challenging is when I move out to the deep end. I lose my footing, there’s no longer anything solid beneath me . . . I’m trusting that I’ll stay afloat, but sometimes it feels I could easily drown. The solid surface at the bottom of the pool, while maybe only feet away, seems as if it is miles beyond my reach.

I’m in a place like that right now. I’ve moved beyond the shallows, and I’ve left much of the familiar, not at the other end of the pool but, on a far distant shore. I’m in that uncomfortable place where the safety of the solid ground feels as though it is miles away. But there is one thing that is holding me secure: God’s lovingkindness.

No matter how far from the familiar shore I’m being thrust. God is not changing. It’s as though He’s my unseen life preserver. I know He has brought me out to the deep waters for a good purpose, but I keep looking back to the shore, my heart keeps longing for the shallows, for the old and familiar. But He’s pushing me out to the beyond.

And I know that no matter how frightening this feels, He will not forsake me, He will not abandon me, He will not allow me to drown. I don’t want to stay in the shallows, because I know He will teach me things in the deep waters I could never learn in the shallows. I am clinging to His steadfast love. That is my unseen life preserver.

“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.” (Psalm 107:43)

Are you in the shallows today?

I’d like to hear how God is at work in your life! 


  • Paula

    I’m definitely in the deep longing for Him yet finding myself wanting to go back to the shallow. What a timely word of encouragement for me to stay in the deep! You have no idea how you encourage my heart, Kim! Much love & prayers =)

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Paula ~

    Thank you so much for your encouragement, I really needed to hear this word today! I so appreciate your prayers!

    Praying for you now dear friend, may you have time today to pause, focus on Jesus’ love for you, and worship Him for His sacrifice. Let this passage be a source of sweet fellowship with Him today:

    “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

    Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

    Just as it is written,

    But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Vivian Etherington

    Underneath you are His Everlasting Arms–ALWAYS! On more than one occasion, a dear friend of mine (and yours) who has been through much deeper waters than I, has said to me “just let go and fall into the arms of Jesus!” Saying a prayer for you right now. Love you, dear friend!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Yes, Yes, YES!! Love that truth, Viv!

    Thank you for this precious reminder dear friend ~

    I love the fact that we can always find safe refuge in His arms!

    Love you, much!

  • Jean

    It is so hard to move out of the shallows, but thats often where we grow closer to Christ. I know I’m experiencing that right now with my marriage issues. Its so hard but I’m thankful that I’m learning to trust in God more and draw closer to him. I always remember something Nancy Leigh DeMoss says.. something like anything that draws us closer to God is a good thing. I know thats not exact but something along those lines.

    Thank you for this post.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Jean ~

    I just sent you a longer note on the post: “Grabbing Onto the Hem” that I hope you’ll read. Yes, I love Nancy’s statement: “Anything that causes us to depend on God is a good thing!” I have to refer to that often 🙂

    Praying for you and your marriage ~