It’s a number I don’t want to know: how many times I have seen the movie Top Gun.
While watching with my nearly 18-year-old daughter for her first time, I was struck by a previously unnoticed detail—the rescue swimmer who jumps into the ocean to rescue Goose and Maverick following the fatal plane crash.
What a terrible job, I think.
Someone willingly jumps from a perfectly good aircraft into choppy, cold, angry waves while fully dressed, only to have to swim to, and adequately aid the injured or dying.
Marvel washed over me as I thought about people who are actually more than destined but even designed for this purpose. There are people who have a natural rhythm and comfort with being in large bodies of water. People who love the idea and choose to be trained to do this very thing. Contemplating what I deemed a difficult job at best—one wholly impossible and unappealing to me—it is perhaps a desirable job to someone else. For them, a calling—people who love the water, feel at home in it, love adventure, thrive on the thrill of risking and saving life.
I like getting in the water inasmuch as it involves a particularly sunny afternoon, refreshing, clear, calm, chlorinated water with little to no chance of any danger or death.
In my small and skewed perspective, I can only liken the calling to when thoughts, feelings, experiences can only be fully expressed and understood when I have the opportunity to write them down. It brings clarity. It is a natural process for me and the place where I believe I can be most helpful. It is how I was designed.
Over the course of time, the infinite and unfathomable God of creation has given us glimpses of himself through his creation, particularly in the people and the gifts he bestowed.
This realization turned quickly to admiration and gratitude to our great God who cannot be comprehended by any one small attribute of His infinite character.
How could the infinite ever be known by the finite I wonder.
Maybe it takes every created being reflecting one aspect of his glory to even start to understand.
He designed some of us to run, some to heal, some to carry heavy loads, some to listen well, some to love numbers (ick), some to speak eloquently, some to write music, some to save lives.
In this way He has designed and fit together a planet full of people with distinct and profound abilities, desires and gifts. The overflow of Himself, of His creativity imbues his creation.
He, of course, could walk on water.
He designed fish to breathe in it.
He made people who move through it effortlessly.
He has and does reveal something magnificent about himself: We are each a reflection of His nature, made in His image. People and their gifts fitted together begin to give a glimpse of the all-powerful, all-knowing God of the universe.
As much as I dread the idea of sinking under waves while weighted down with equipment or feeling lost at sea, someone might have a similar sinking feeling with a pen in hand before a blank page of paper
But thank God someone wants to dive in, live for a moment to rescue.
Without a person gifted in such a way, life will be less, maybe even lost.
I believe our gifting—tiny pieces of God’s multi-faceted character—are entrusted to us to be not only used, but discovered by others in life. It is precious to see how God has poured part of himself into his people for his greater purpose.
It is as if God has given us a glorious treasure hunt as we make our way through our lives.
We have to have one another if we want to glimpse the larger picture, if we want to do more than merely survive. The more we know one another and our specific gifts, how much bigger and better our view of God. And isn’t it just like him to require relationship to learn what He truly has for us?
The rescue swimmer abandons safety, is seemingly wallowed by waves, but the mission is undeterred.
Let us also be in our pursuit of the grander view.
It is our opportunity to dive in.