I am sure by now most, if not all, of you have heard about cold water challenges. Someone challenges you, who has been challenged by someone else who has been challenged by someone else and so on and so forth, to get into some cold water, either with a bucket dumped over your head, a plunge into freezing cold water, or a slow, freezing cold walk into some cold water like we did at the Clinch. The cold water challenge is meant to be something fun to do to raise money for the charity of your choice, and from what I have heard on the radio about these lately it’s really working. Charities have seen an increase in donations (and a pretty dramatic one for some) since the cold water challenges became popular. There are many naysayers, but for us it was nice to be included in this new fad. I am not usually a “fad” person, but with this one we made an exception because it is actually a positive-impact one. My husband recently told me about an article written by a very good friend of ours discounting the cold water challenge, and it got me thinking about a different cold water challenge I have had….a far more important and meaningful one: My baptism.
I was saved when I was 19. Josh and I hadn’t been dating very long when he finally talked me into joining him at church. I hadn’t been a church-goer, but once I started I really liked it. It wasn’t very long then after that I was saved. (And I will share that full testimony later). I knew that the next step was getting baptized, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t fully understand what it was all about and I didn’t want to just do it because I was supposed to. I spent several months in prayer about it and studying why it was necessary before God gave me clarity. He showed me that the spiritual baptism (being saved) is the one that is required. After all, without it you can’t get to heaven. But, he also showed me that the actual physical baptism wasn’t just some meaningless ritual. It was meant to be a very personal, symbolic representation of your renewing and washing away your old life and your old sins. Once I realized this, I was excited to be baptized so I told our then preacher during morning service I wanted to do it that very night. He was pleasantly surprised and said, “The water won’t have time to heat up.” I said it didn’t matter and he said okay.
That evening we entered the baptistery together and he was right….that water was COLD! It came from a deep well and I personally believe the Clinch River couldn’t have been colder. But, it didn’t matter. I finally understood how important being baptized was to me and I was so glad to be doing it! When he dipped me into the water the cold took my breath away and the tears began to flow. I really did feel renewed and washed clean. I knew that my heart and soul had already been baptized with Jesus’ blood, but now that outward representation had been a mental washing-clean too. It felt wonderful to wipe away the old outer life and put on the new to go along with my new inner life.
I am glad we were included in the cold water challenge recently and was more than happy to donate to the charity we picked. But I am even more glad that I was able to take the cold water baptism plunge a little over 11 years ago!
Sliver lining: God knows what my family needs and gave us the answer to 3 separate prayers we have been praying last night at church!