We were on vacation at the beach last summer and went swimming at the hotel's swimming pool. I don't know about you, but there seems to be something wrong with that. If you're at the beach, why are you swimming in a pool? In spite of the warped logic, that's where we were.
As I've mentioned before, Cole is not a very daring child. Whereas Chloe will jump off the side of the pool whether we are there to catch her or not, Cole still has trouble bringing himself to take that very literal "leap of faith." He wants us to be standing there, he wants multiple assurances that we're going to catch him, and he wants to stay close to the side.
After several repeated attempts, I had finally persuaded Cole to join me out in the middle of the pool. I moved along slowly, carrying him with me as we went. His little arms were tight around my neck, but I noticed that over time his grip loosened - ever so slightly.
After about 10 minutes, Cole actually began enjoying himself. He looked at me and said the words I'd been saying to him all along: "I got you, I got you."
I laughed at the absurdity of his statement. "You've got me?" I asked him, "or have I got you?"
He thought about it and giggled. "I got you," he replied.
For a moment I put myself in his place, and my heavenly father in mine. Would I say that I've got him? Or that he's got me?
The question may seem odd, but think about the wording we sometimes use. "I've got Jesus in my heart." It kind of gives the impression that we own God, that he belongs to us. But is he our possession? Or are we his?
He gave up his son for us, and Jesus' death paid the price for our sins (John 3:16). We are his body (Romans 12:3-8), his bride (Ephesians 5:25-27), his special possession (1 Peter 2:9).
We don't own God, but sometimes we act like we do. We run to him when we need him, and forget about him when we don't. We want a relationship with him when it's convenient for us, and we want it on our terms.
We can't treat God like that and expect to have a decent relationship with him. We must recognize that we belong to God, not the other way around. Once we acknowledge that and live according to it, our relationship with our heavenly father will be in its proper context - and it will be better than ever before.
Parrish Myers is a local minister. His column appears every other week in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com.