Devo for the Day
Tall and good-looking, the woman seemed normal in every respect—except for the scuba equipment she wore. I gawked for a few minutes, looking for the cameras and a potential reality TV host. A short man with a handlebar mustache stopped beside me and whispered, “Who forgot her meds this morning, hm?” Chuckling, he disappeared into the growing crowd. Finally, feeling embarrassed for her, I walked over and said, “Excuse me, miss? I’m not sure you need a scuba tank here. The air is fine to breathe.”
She turned and smiled. “Oh, I couldn’t breathe this air. It’s too much for me.”
“But there’s nothing wrong with this air, really,” I said. “Some of the smells are really wonderful—Cinnabon, the Starbucks around the corner, even some of the perfumes.”
“Exactly,” she said, patting my arm. “I think it’s probably a bit too wonderful for me. I’ll stick to this tank and the air that OXY1 has prepared for me.”
She walked away happy, and I walked away confused, wondering if I should contact OXY1 for myself. Perhaps the air was too wonderful for me, too.
Not a factual story, of course. But we in the church occasionally suffer from “scuba syndrome”: that is, we think a person needs a special anointing, or special training, or special equipment to encounter God, and we’ll leave it to them. Like the Israelites, we say, “God is too great and terrible for us. Leave him to the priests or prophets.” We leave God to Bible teachers, pastors, or best-selling authors, and only experience Him through their mediation.
Taken to its extreme, this idea says, “I know I need God, but I’ll take him watered down, thank you very much.” It’s like walking around town or school wearing scuba gear. Good air is all around, waiting to be breathed, but we stick to the canned stuff prepared by someone we don’t really know. In the same way, “The ‘air’ which our souls need also envelops all of us at all times and on all sides. God is round about us in Christ on every hand, with his many-sided and all-sufficient grace. All we need do is open our hearts” (Ole Hallesby, quoted in The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard).
We’re sometimes afraid to meet God as He has revealed himself: in Christ and in creation. All the while, He invites us simply to “open our hearts” and breathe him in.