Even our attempts to give her flotation devices, water wings, etc, did not give her security. I tried to get her out by carrying her, holding her, embracing her, encouraging her, yet she screamed and yelled and carried on so much that I had no choice but to stop, fearing "child abuse" accusations.
And a large indoor pool arena did not help, with all the echoing of her screams.
She wanted her "secure" pool side steps. Then claims, "when you and mommy are not looking, I swim across the steps". Sorry kid, that does not count!
I told her, "you need to learn to trust me to carry you".
Then an epiphany came to me.
Those steps are our church, our religion. We have more faith in that than in Christ.
Those steps cannot nor is willing to save her if she took a misstep (sin in life) and fell face first into the water. In fact, those same steps may crack her head open if she hits it hard enough.
Yet, I was, and am willing to protect her and save her if necessary if she would just trust me. Especially since most of the time, being over 6' tall, I was standing in three feet of water on the floor of the pool anyway.
So seeing that, I see us struggling in church, by the pool side, sitting on the steps (pews) taking in what others are doing in freedom. We are much safer in Christs arms in the deep than we are sitting on the steps alone.
Christ is out there, swimming, enjoying life and inviting us all to join him. Some get out there Olympic style and swim and play volleyball and have a great time! Some are hanging on to a partner, others use flotation devices and others can swim to their hearts content, but all are out there, weak and strong.
But those who sit on the side will never enjoy the real Jesus and his enjoyment of life when we do not trust him outside of our physical church and our own subjective reality.
Now that is not to say church is wrong, steps are necessary to get us into the pool if we cannot dive in. But staying in one place when the purpose is to "swim" in Christ, is our danger.
Get out there and swim, or at least, let Jesus hold on to you in safe embrace in the unknown three feet of water.