You don’t need a lot for a baptism—water and two willing souls. Our God does not complicate His way. Baptism is a miraculous-mystery-made-simple in a process that hasn’t changed with time. The letting go begins and then you head down to the water.
God provides the miracle and the mystery when we step out in obedience
One of the passages I enjoyed writing the most in my book was a baptism scene:
“The spring rains had been abundant, offering a place for me to die to myself and be raised up alive in Christ.”
I am a baptism junkie. There is no act on this earth more beautiful to me than a baptism—watching a life submitted to the Lord let go of self as the waters close over them. It demonstrates an obedience to God that is rooted deeply in the heart and the joyful tears always come.
Baptism is obedience in the raw; vulnerability, trust and boldness in the letting go
There are pictures in this post of our kids’ baptisms, my mom’s, dad’s, stepmom’s, college best friend, niece and My Man’s childhood best friend—all of them miracles. The people doing the baptisms are pastors, a grandpa, dad, childhood friend and a godly mentor.
The first complete submersion baptism I witnessed, where I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence, was of my college best friend. We were still in college at the time, but it was before I went to that church camp where God got my attention. To see her go under the water and then rise up with hope for her future was breathtaking.
She is also in that group of pictures below, deep underwater, being baptized again by My Man. She felt a deepened relationship with Christ, through His Word, through a work that He had started in her many years before, and she wanted to publicly declare that to her husband, children and our family. Lord willing, you will hear a lot more about my godly, adventurous friend in future posts.
Step into the water, sink to the end of yourself and find hope in the rising. There is hope in the resurrection and the life
In my last post I was sinking to the end of myself. I was leading a lackadaisical life while my husband was away working—all that novel reading, etc. It wasn’t good, and a bunch of factors were about to collide and get ugly—not “leaving and cleaving” and not respecting My Man.
We rarely saw each other while we lived up north, and then when he came home, it was obvious that I wasn’t keeping his interests a priority. The baby was my priority, as was my “me time”. My Man worked hard out of town and came home to chop wood in the snow—only to watch his cup of water freeze on the night stand (we lived in a very poorly insulated ranch house).
For a “General personality” this was all very hard to take and this was the only time we ever considered, what we now know is not an option, divorce. I remember calling my poor dad with the news. My dad was so sad and hoped we wouldn’t follow through, but I acted like it was a done deal. While I did that, My Man was actually seeking counsel to not divorce. The thought that he cared enough to try makes me want to run and find him and kiss him this instant!
God’s faithfulness that day came through my husband’s boss and his boss’s wife. Remember how I said that his boss’s family would be intricately involved with ours? His boss has been a best friend/mentor over the years to My Man; they are the “men who are hard to tame”—cut from the same cloth with an amazing amount of energy! That energy has instigated a lot of our adventures.
My Man called them and they, in turn, soberly counseled us about the reward that comes through persevering in those tumultuous times—the ones in every marriage.
The wisdom and compassion in their voices really touched our hearts and we listened.
By God’s mercy, our one time of truly considering divorce probably only lasted two hours. My eyes were starting to open—My Man was trying to lead and provide for us—I was the one who needed to get with the program! My heart was transforming.
Only His way truly satisfies
I began reading Ecclesiastes during our son’s nap time and I was convicted of how much time I was wasting. These succinct words spoke to me (it was the NASB version of the Bible that my sweet man had gifted me with shortly after our wedding):
“All things are wearisome; man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.” Ecclesiastes 1:8
Those simple truths cut to the quick for me—like being cut under the fingernails or straight to the heart.
No words can cut like God’s Word
All those novels and wasted time were not satisfying my soul. I was so ashamed. My eyes were truly opening, and how appropriate that Solomon would be the one to impart that wisdom.
I remember calling my father-in-law, all-choked-up. (Girls innately need their dads, or a different positive male in their lives. Notice I called my dad and then my father-in-law, rather than my wonderful mom or the other women in my life.)
At times I felt that my father-in-law was more likable than My Man during those early days of our marriage. He was an example of Christ to me—kind, wise and soft-spoken—not to mention an adorable cowboy! I knew my father-in-law would have an ear to listen and some words of wisdom. A mystery took place in verbalizing my thoughts to him and having him respond in prayer and wisdom. I feel those days may have been the true “moment” of salvation, although I had professed it earlier. Either way, it was a very noteworthy point in my journey with the Lord, in the work He was doing in me. That is when I decided to be baptized—to demonstrate “death to self”.
A miraculous mystery made simple
1 Peter 3:21:
“And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”(emphasis mine)
The verse preceding this one speaks of Noah and his family being saved through the waters of the flood. Noah first believed in God and His purposes; he acted in faith by building the ark and then climbing on it. The waters lifted the ark and kept Noah and his family safe.
But first he had to walk through the door
The other people had the opportunity to climb to safety on the ark as well—that door remained open long enough for them to make their choice to follow God. They mocked the idea and perished in the same waters that lifted Noah.
Today it is still the “clear conscience toward God” that saves—baptism follows. We trust God and then climb in the water. The act demonstrates the belief. My thought from reading the scriptures is that there is a beautiful, intricate mystery between baptism and salvation.
If a believer is able they should climb into those waters as soon as possible—in obedience and in thankfulness for the work that Jesus has done in making a way for salvation. His resurrection makes the miracle in our lives possible.
Witnesses at baptisms and the fellowship of believers—PRICELESS
Precious reader, if you have professed your faith in Jesus, please do not delay in obeying the command to be baptized; it is a key step in your walk as a child of God. Call someone and begin to take that step.
It was a life changing time for me—laying aside some of those selfish, lazy ways that I had held onto up to that point. I began to search for God’s plan for me and the Holy Spirit was changing me. Thank you Jesus!
Don’t delay in going through the door—then find the water