It’s all happening again,’ Laura thought as she sobbed into her pillow.
She had recently moved into the area and had joined the New Life & Victory Church. Now the old dilemma had followed her here.
At the evening service her heart sank when the pastor concluded his sermon with a section on water baptism. He finally joked: ‘Anyone who hasn’t been through the water, please see me after the service, preferably in your bathing suits. Joking aside, there will be a baptismal service a week on Thursday at 7pm for all willing candidates.’
Later that evening Laura’s doorbell rang. When she opened the door Mark and Wendy stood there. They had been aware of Laura rushing out of church and not staying around to chat like she normally did.
Mark asked, ‘Are you ok?’
Noticing her red eyes Wendy questioned, ‘No, you’re not all right, are you?’
As they sat having a coffee Laura shared her problem with them. She opened up, ‘When I was twelve I developed this very rare condition called aquagenous urticaria which simply means that I’m allergic to water. Being fully immersed in water would be a nightmare.’
She explained how difficult it was to cope with the condition. She had to wash just bits of herself at a time and dry off quickly. It could take nearly an hour to have a really thorough wash and even then there was usually a flare up of a nasty rash. Thankfully, it would normally subside within the hour. Complications had set in on odd occasions causing her to be hospitalised.
Laura tried to lighten the conversation, ‘I would love to be baptised. I feel so guilty at not being able to follow this scriptural command and I think that I’m missing out on something really spiritually important.’
Mark at twenty seven was the youngest elder in the church and had a counselling ministry that was acknowledged by the church eldership. He thought to himself, ‘Laura needs our help here.’
‘Laura, the Lord wants us to be baptised, that is for sure. Yet Jesus is our complete and full salvation and that is even surer. Your spiritual standing can’t be compromised any more than that of the thief on the cross. He did nothing to gain worthiness but found Jesus. I don’t think he would have had the opportunity to be baptised, do you?’
Laura didn’t answer, so Mark continued, ‘I think Jesus allowed this thief incident to be written down for people like you who are not able to fulfil all of the scriptures’ requirements through no fault of their own. Loved ones, of those who are converted on their deathbed, can also find comfort from this account.’
‘However, I have a plan which I think Pastor George will agree to and I hope you will too. We’ll kit you out in a wet suit or a diving suit and get you baptised that way. We could make it into a fun thing; George is always up for a laugh – what do you say?’
‘Sounds good to me but will it be valid?’ asked Laura excitedly.
‘Don’t see why not, none of us got baptised in our birthday suits,’ joked Wendy.
It was all agreed with Pastor George for the baptism night. It would be top secret and would be an amusing addition to the service. Mark’s hobby was deep sea diving and he possessed all the kit and equipment. For maximum effect Mark’s over sized diving suit had been chosen.
On the night of her baptism Laura entered from the rear of the church linking Mark’s arm. She walked to the front of the church in all her dunking regalia. The congregation erupted into spontaneous laughter.
When Laura was being baptised she praised the Lord that a way had been made for her at last. It had been fun but it was also profoundly meaningful to her. After her testimony she thanked all the church family for their love and support.
Later she said to Wendy and Mark, ‘Tonight I’ve followed Jesus in a way which had seemed impossible for me. Thank you for helping me to succeed.’
Wendy stood to attention, saluted and said, ‘Mission Accomplished!’
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