A River of Patience and Perseverance

If you follow this blog, you know we are in the midst of something. God has been providing and God is moving, and we are waiting to see the next step.

imageI can only imagine what it will be like when we take those steps into what God has purposed for our family. I have never been in a similar situation before. It requires a most uncomfortable, absolute trust that God knows what he is doing, and he will tell us what that is. For now, we wait.

In Joshua 3, the Israelites are finally cross the river Jordan. They have been waiting for 40 years.

Can you imagine the anticipation and anxiety? In the text the Ark is carried into the river and the water dries up. The people cross on dry ground. The mighty Jordan, during the flood season, was dried up so they could take possession of the Promise Land.

The story is an example of patience and perseverance in following God.

The water doesn’t pile up right next to them. In verse 16 we see that the water was stopped at Adam, near Zarethan. Resources I found say that this was about 16 miles away from the crossing point.

Imagine a large river, swollen to flood stage. The Ark is carried into the water. 16 miles away the water stops. But think about the next few minutes by the Ark.

When Moses parted the Red Sea, it was immediate. Manna arrived every morning on cue. God sent birds into their nets. Even when Moses struck the rock (losing his own entrance into the Promised Land) the water came forth right then.

But that day, on the rivers edge, for a few minutes, maybe an hour or so… Nothing seemed to be happening. A river of that size just doesn’t drain away in a few minutes. Do you think those on the bank had any doubts?

What if the Israelites had faltered? But they didn’t.

Sometimes God works slower. Sometimes God works faster. This time, patience was required.

The story also shows us perseverance. My father preaches a sermon about this passage, where he reminds the congregation that this wasn’t a small crossing of a few people. Over 600,000 men were numbered. Men, with families and belongings. Those carrying the Ark stood there, as the entire company passed on dry land.

Yes, they were in the midst of an amazing work of God. But what if they decided they had done enough? What of they said they were done for the day? But they didn’t.

It’s important to remember that crossing the Jordan wasn’t the end of the story. They still had to miraculously defeat multiple cities in the Promised Land. There was a lot of work left.

I am still amazed that the creator of the universe still chooses to do his work in, through, and with us. But if we are to be useful in this work, we must expend the effort to be part of it.

I can’t help wondering if some of the thoughts and emotions we are feeling are like the Israelites.