• Fear, Floods, and Faith

    Today I was invited to prepare to speak to our church congregation this coming Sunday. When I heard the topic assigned to me, I laughed out loud. God has a sense of humor, friends.

    My assigned topic? ….Trusting God.

    Ha ha ha ha ha!

    I’m not gonna lie. Last Friday was really rough.

    Between recovering from a horrible cold virus, possibly compounded by an ear infection, and having cut my antidepressant medication dose (to 1/8 of my prescribed dose) the day before, I was a weepy mess. My whole body hurt, I felt depressed, I couldn’t stop crying, and I couldn’t see past the cloud of doubt and fear encompassing me. If you’re unfamiliar with the trust journey I’ve been on, refer to this post and this post.

    When you have endured indescribable agony in the past, it occasionally resurfaces in bursts of memory. On Friday I remembered it all so vividly, and I sobbed to my husband over and over: “I can’t do it again.” With those memories sharply pressing upon me, my powerful imagination flooded my hypothetical future with dashed hopes, failed dreams, unfulfilled promises, and heartache. If that was where I was headed, I didn’t want any part of it.

    My husband listened to me cry for a long time. And each time I gazed into his face plaintively, he reiterated what he has already told me several times in the past month:

    I really do feel strongly in my heart that it’s going to be different this time.

    A few moments later, he left the room to take care of something, and I (still sobbing) began texting my sister and a local friend. What did they say in response to my doubts and fears?

    It’s going to be different. It’s going to be okay. You’re going to get through this, and come out the other side holding the promises. -My Sister

    The Lord has great things in store for you my friend!! . . . It’s not easy to put behind bad experiences and forget them, but it will be different this time. I will be fasting for you on Sunday! -My Friend

    My mom prayed for me in the temple that day, and then sent me these words:

    You will be victorious. And be able to give others understanding and hope.

    On Saturday, I felt like myself again. Praise the heavens. As I prepared my Sunday school lesson, this story from Joshua, chapter 3, felt like another witness from God:

    After wandering in the desert for forty years, the Israelites were finally ready to enter the Promised Land.

    But there was one last barrier in their way: the Jordan River. And its fast-flowing waters were at flood stage.

    The Israelites had reached a monumental moment: they could either trust in God’s power and step into the dangerous river, or they could disobey God’s commands to enter the Promised Land because of their fear. God’s people made their decision: They broke camp and prepared to cross (Source).

    When God commanded the Israelites to cross into the Promised land, the Jordan River was overflowing its banks as it apparently always did at that time of year (see vs. 15). This video gives an intense visual of what the Jordan River looks (and sounds) like when it is flooding:

    If there is one thing I have learned since moving to Phoenix, Arizona, it is to stay away from flooding waterPeople die every year in Arizona because they have not heeded these warnings or because they were simply taken by surprise as flooding waters came upon them.

    But God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to walk into the raging river! It was the only way for them to receive the Lord’s promises. Joshua spoke to the people the day before their crossing, giving them courage with these words:

    Joshua 3-5

     

    So what happened? As soon as the priests stepped into the river, the water stopped flowing. It was held back. And the Israelites crossed over on dry ground.

    Was it chance that I was guided to read this story Saturday night? I don’t think so. It felt like God was saying to me:

    The promises are waiting for you on the other side of the raging river of fear that is holding you back. Step your foot into the water. Trust me. And see my wonders.

    It felt like God was telling me that, just like Joshua, I can expect miracles.

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