The first time I went snorkeling, I was hooked. It’s like peeking in on a strange, new world. After experiencing this wonderland for some time, I soon wanted to go deeper and explore. That’s when scuba diving went on my bucket list. On a recent trip to Jamaica, I noticed the resort had a scuba course, so I signed up. Oh man, I was excited. We all got fitted for our equipment and headed to the pool for our, (ahem) extensive training session. That’s when excitement did an about face and became anxiety.
Everything was going great – I had mastered the regulator, I understood the oxygen indicators on the tanks, etc. Then the instructor started showing us how to recover when the unexpected happens, such as getting your mask kicked off by an over-excited, diving companion. The idea is to recover the mask, press the top tightly on your brow and exhale through your nose to blow the water out of your mask. Unfortunately, I inhaled instead of exhaled and needed to stand up out of the pool to cough up some water. That’s when it hit me…I won’t be able to stand up thirty feet below the surface. Gulp!
So, now I’m a little apprehensive. Then our guide tells us to grab our tanks and head to the boat. This is when I am introduced to the weight of scuba tanks out of the water. I think they weigh in at about 4000 pounds. Then they put a weight belt on me. There are waaaay more things about scuba gear that are designed to keep you under water than getting you back to the surface. Add to this a rather choppy ocean and knowing that I was going to throw myself off the boat backward. Well, too late to get out of this now. I guess a burial at sea is a good way to go.
Despite all the anxiety on the surface, the deeper I went, the more peace I experienced. Silence, beauty and wonder crowded out all the anxiety that previously filled my thoughts. Our guide stayed slightly ahead of us and kept a close watch for anyone that might get into trouble. A couple of times I got distracted and he grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me back to the group. It was fabulous. Scuba, check. On to the next bucket list item.
The next beatitude in Scott’s series is Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” For me, the ocean has always been an analogy for peace. Not the surface, of course, that’s where all the turmoil of life is. But going below the surface, even in the midst of a hurricane, there is peace. That’s one of the great blessings of following Christ. In the midst of any storm we have the ability to descend into the peace that only he can provide and draw strength to face the tough situations on the surface.
So, what is a peacemaker? I think it’s akin to my scuba guide. He knew what amazing sights were waiting for us if we would just follow his guidance and overcome our anxiety. We know the amazing blessings of knowing Christ and the peace that only he gives (John 14:27). We are peacemakers when we take people by the wrist and lead them to the Savior. Then we can experience the mysteries of His grace together…and we won’t have to come up for air.