Last Friday I went swimming in the ocean off Virginia Beach. The air temperature was about 80 degrees, but the water was only 58 degrees. I have always loved swimming in the ocean and I'm not deterred by cold water. I've braved Lake Michigan and the ocean waters of Maine in the past. So I ran into the water on Friday. For the first three minutes, I took many short breaths to give my lungs and body a chance to accommodate the frigid surroundings. I've learned from experience that if you can bear with the torture for a few minutes (and the water isn't unbearably cold) your body adjusts. Somehow the circulatory system must pump more blood to vital areas. Friday the waves were just great and I was able to play in the surf for about 45 minutes. I was glad when my older sister, Carol, also braved the conditions to join me. (I would only do this in shallow surf with family or friends nearby, knowing the reality of hypothermia).
When we seek to share our faith in the Lord Jesus with an unbeliever, it can feel just as foreign and shocking as my experience plunging into the ocean. We may test the waters with our toes and quickly flee because of an obvious feeling of discomfort. Or we may plunge in and immerse ourselves, work through the discomfort and adjust. Then we may experience great joy as our spiritual circulation system pumps warmth to our hearts and inspiration to our minds.
We can watch the opportunities pass like we watch the waves break, or we can plunge in and eventually ride the waves. You will probably find it encouraging to take this plunge together with a friend, with experienced believers available to encourage, help, and even rescue as needed.
2 Timothy 4:5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.