Monday Morning Devotion-August 5, 2019
When you reach the edge of the Jordan River's waters go and stand in the river. Joshua 3:10
Sometimes the most accurate way to describe a relationship or a situation is simply: "It's complicated." Let's face it, life is not always easy. And who's fault is that? It must be God's fault.
Hey, wait a minute. Am I saying that these complicated situations that arise, the ones that we have a hard time fighting our way through to a satisfactory conclusion are caused by the Almighty?
In the section of his best-selling book "The Circle Maker," called: "Holy Complications" Mark Batterson writes this:
"One reason many people get frustrated spiritually is that they feel like it should get easier to do the will of God. I don't know if this will be encouraging or discouraging, but the will of God doesn't get easier, the will of God gets harder." Now that's complicated.
Here's why: "The harder it gets, the harder you have to pray."
Now that's what you were hoping to hear, right? No way. Well, let's check further with Batterson.
"God will keep putting you in situations that stretch your faith, and as your faith stretches, so do your dreams. If you pass the test, you graduate to bigger and bigger dreams. And it won't get easier; it'll get harder. It won't get less complicated, it will get more complicated. But, complications are evidence of God's blessing. And if it's from God then it's a holy complication."
See, I told you. It's God's fault when we have complications, right? Well, not entirely.
You see we have to do our part and usually that's the tricky part.
Batterson says: "You need to come to terms with this two-sided truth: The blessings of God won't just bless you; they will also complicate your life. Sin will complicate your life in negative ways. The blessings of God will complicate your life in positive ways."
Two years ago, God complicated this happy marriage that the Lovely Susette and I have in a way we could not have anticipated; when our lovely little two-year old granddaughter, Ellee, came to live with us.
Talk about a major complication. That was one that two seniors would not have anticipated. But, since her parents couldn't even live together it was not possible for this beautiful little girl to live with either of them.
Little Ellee's life was complicated beyond anything she could deal with. Life is not always fair. God's solution was to complicate our lives. Was that fair? At first, we had to wonder. But once we bought into it and became Ellee's family we saw what a blessing the
Lord had provided us. Is it easy? No, it isn't.
As Batterson says: "Blessings will complicate your life, but they will complicate your life in ways God wants it complicated," then he shares this. "A few years ago, I prayed a prayer that changed my life. I believe it can change your life as well, but it takes tremendous courage to pray it like you mean it. And you have to count the cost.
Lord, complicate my life!
As your life becomes more complicated it becomes more necessary to pray hard. But, praying hard is, well°it's hard. As I've pointed out many times we must pray as if it depends on God, but the other side of the coin is that we must then work as if it depends on us. That's the winning formula. It's teamwork. Could God do it all by himself? Certainly, He's God.
Will He do it all by Himself? No, He won't. We have to do our part.
When the Israelites were finally ready, after all those years, to go into the Promised Land, they got to the Jordan River and probably didn't like what they saw. The River (which was muddy the day we visited several years ago) was 10 to 12 feet deep. And the instructions from God to them were to go down the bank and take a few steps into the water.
Hmm! The priests, who were leading the procession and carrying the Ark of the Covenant had to call upon their faith to make that move. There was a whole string of people following behind them waiting to see what they would do. The Lord had complicated the situation.
The Jordan River was at flood stage, so it certainly was a step of faith for the priests.
But, they had to do their part. When they stepped into the river here's what happened:
"Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing."
The priests who carried the ark of the covenant stood firm in the Jordan River until
all the people had safely crossed, then they crossed, and the waters returned to their former place.
We want God to go first and then we will follow after He has safely cleared the way. But, usually He requires us to take a step of faith first, like the priests did in the Jordan River.
The flooded river was only about a mile wide at the point where the people crossed, but what if the priests hadn't stepped into the river? What if they had waited for God to take action first?
Only a mile was standing between the Israelites and their four-hundred-year-promise. Their dream was a stone's throw away. But, what if they had waited for God to part the waters instead of taking that first step into the water as they were instructed to do?
Batterson says that is where many of us spend our lives. We are close to fulfilling our dream, but we aren't willing to get our feet wet. We are waiting on God to make a move while God is waiting for us to make a move.
It's complicated, but really it is oh so easy. Take that step of faith. Welcome the complication. Do your part and God will be faithful to do His.
Prayer: Lord help us to be wise enough to know what to do, then do our part so that You will make even our fondest dreams be realized. Amen!