When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2
Recently my family and I spent a week camping at our church’s annual Family Camp. I think I should mention that we are one of two families that actually have a camp trailer. So I kind of felt rather spoiled as I slept on a cozy bed in our trailer as the rest of the other families actually “roughed it” with their tents and sleeping bags out in the wild.
As always, I love and look forward to family camp because it is a week of unparalleled fun and together time for our church family like no other. There’s the usual enjoyment of laughter and conversing of adults while the kids are cut loose to run, play, ride bikes and enjoy the creek. There are also outdoor board games and not to mention some of the other highlights such as sharing of meals, mid-week baptisms in the creek and nightly campfire/worship time. There really is nothing else quite like it (In my mind’s eye, I think it’s a tiny sliver of what heaven will be like).
The camp location is especially beautiful and unique as it parallels a creek and butts up against a majestic forest filled with ferns and redwoods. This particular time, the weather was a bit on the cooler side so there wasn’t as much playing in the creek as in years past. Therefore one morning, I along with a dear friend of mine, decided we would take a few of the kids on an adventure hike. We decided to follow the creek through the wooded area that also paralleled the road.
As we started on our hike, we soon found that it was going to be a real adventure indeed. There was no pre-made paths to follow, so there were many areas that we had to weave our way in and out of the bushes, prickery vines and a mirage of tree branches going every which way but loose. My teenage son led with a machete and chopped clearings for us to go through where there were no other ways possible.
There were certain points during our hike, where it became evident that we could go no further without crossing the water. Once there was a narrowing of the creek and a very small tree trunk was growing sideways across it. Thankfully we were all able to cross without any of us falling in. After some time, there was another instance where we came to a place where we needed to cross once again, but this time there was no visible easy way to get across.
One of the kids came up with the idea of us throwing surrounding boulders into the shallow and narrow area of the creek bed and to form a bridge in hopes that we might be able to then get across. We all thought it was a great plan and together began placing rocks into the creek. After about twenty-five minutes it became apparent that all our efforts were futile. Because the strong current in the creek, the water was now being diverted around our makeshift bridge causing the creek to widen and make a new path around our rock bridge.
So after our unsuccessful attempt to build a bridge, I suggested that we just take off our socks and shoes, roll up our pant-legs and wade through the frigid water to cross the creek. And that’s exactly what we did, we found the shallowest point and made our way across. Upon crossing, my daughter’s best friend announced, “I think that should be your next blog post, that sometimes whether we like it or not, we just have to go through it.” She’s a smart girl, because that’s exactly how my brain works.
Well that day we all learned a valuable lesson that can easily apply to our walk of faith. It reminds of the scripture found in Proverbs 19:21 that says . . . You can make many plans, but the Lords purpose will prevail. Sometimes we see difficult circumstances and we make our own plans to try to deal with them. We often use avoidance or fleeing because by doing so think we can get around difficulties. But it’s kind of like our plan to cross the creek and stay dry, we had a plan, but that plan did not work out as we had anticipated and so we ended up having to go directly though it anyway.
God sometimes has to take us through the waters of difficulty (trials) to teach us and to refine us. In doing so he breaks the patterns of sin in our lives and uses the difficulties to draw us closer to himself. It is his ultimate goal that as we submit in obedience to him, that we will become more and more like him. When we walk in trust and obedience to Him, He will bring that work to pass in our lives. That’s what it means by resting in Jesus. It’s putting your absolute faith and trust in him and trusting that in everything he brings us to (that he is right there with us) and he will also bring us through it.
The bible says in Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. We can always trust that God sees the big picture and knows exactly what he’s doing. If we belong to him, his purposes and plans will prevail.
This life is like our pilgrimage to the promised land and we are sojourners just passing through. There WILL be difficulties, there WILL be obstacles that try to divert us from the right path. But when we walk in obedience, keeping our focus on Jesus, he will provide us with a safe passage to the promised land, our eternal life with him forever. Following Jesus in this life is the greatest adventure ever and the rewards are eternal and out of this world!