Monday, February 20, 2017

swimming the river of temptation


Today in A Year with the Church Fathers, St Cyril of Jerusalem tells us about overcoming temptation.

He says that temptation is like a raging river, and we can only cross it if we are "good swimmers". I see what he's saying, and it's true that we do need spiritual stamina to make it through the temptations that come our way in life.

However. I would add that the best swimmers get pulled under sometimes. Even the Michael Phelps of temptation swimmers gets yanked down by that undertow from time to time. The key, I think, is not so much to be a great swimmer (in fact, I think the pride of considering yourself a great swimmer sometimes gets you pulled down faster), as much as it is to not give up.

In other words, Dory from Finding Nemo really gives us the best advice. Just keep swimming. That's the difference we see between Judas and Peter. Both were pulled under. But Judas stopped swimming. He gave up and drowned. Peter, even though he LITERALLY went under the waves when Jesus told him to walk on water, called out "Lord, help me."

And that's probably our best prayer. "Lord, help me."

God, thank You for hearing us every time we cry out, "Lord, help me."