River Crossings

Imagine you’re driving across a long bridge (like Golden Gate Bridge in the photo) and fog rolls in. Visibility drops. You don’t know what’s ahead. Is it safe to continue? Are you going to turn around or keep on driving? Most people will keep on going albeit a little slower. Why? What gives you the confidence to keep going?

Perhaps you look back and recall how the bridge has supported you so far and that there’s no reason for thinking it will stop just because you can’t see the full picture.

Maybe you look ahead and see glimpses of the road, supports or the land ahead. Knowing there’s something solid ahead of you helps.

You’re also surrounded by other drivers. Some going your way and some coming back out of the clouds. The fact you’re not alone and everyone else is continuing their journeys helps reassure.

As you enter a cloud, although you can’t see through it, you can see a short distance ahead. Moving forward you see a little bit more. And then a little bit more. If at any time you notice you’re getting too close to the edge you adjust the direction of travel.

You trust the bridge to support you on your journey. You have faith.

Christian faith can be like driving over a bridge. Sometimes the journey ahead is clear and has some breathtaking sights. Other times it’s like staring into the unknown; not knowing what’s ahead. There’s the choice to stop, turn around or to continue.

Can I suggest when you find yourself staring into the unknown future you think of the bridge:

1) Look back. Recall your journey so far. Remember what God has done in your life. How He has supported you, protected you and cared for you.

2) Look ahead. What are the cast iron promises from the Bible that He has given you? Where are you heading?

3) Look around. You’re not alone on the journey. We all face unknowns. Some are ahead of us, some have been through it and others are yet to face it. We can support each other as a community. Through love, acts of service, wise counsel and prayer.

We’re never going to get the full picture of the future but we can step into it. And with each step forward we get a small glimpse of what’s ahead and an opportunity to adjust our course. I love this quote from Brian McLaren: “Faith that counts is not the absence of doubt, it’s the presence of action.

One of my favourite stories from the Bible is when Joshua led the Israelite people across the River Jordan (Joshua chap. 3). God had asked him to march the Ark of the Covenant — the most precious thing the Israelites possessed — into the flooded river (estimated to be about 1 mile wide at the time). It seemed completely ridiculous. And Joshua as the new leader would be in deep trouble. However, the moment the priests carrying the Ark set foot in the river, the water stopped flowing. The people could all cross the river. A small step of faith led to something remarkable.

What I also find fascinating about the story is the river didn’t stop at the priests’ feet but a great distance away upstream (v16). Now water doesn’t flow instantly so what this means is that God would have had to have stopped the water at least an hour before the priests put their sandals in the river. God was working in the past to prepare the way for the future. Mind blowing and reassuring.