Thursday, December 31, 2015

Arise, and Cross the River Jordan


With 2016 fast approaching, now is the time to reflect on the previous year and look towards the future. We traditionally reflect on our blessings and contemplate what goals we might want to pursue in the new year. How I wish I could say 2015 was a year filled with blessings and opportunities. And in a way, that is certainly true. I became of member of my church and cemented many relationships which are near to my heart. I made a positive change in my working life. I decided to go back to school and pursue my own dreams. But overall, I would say 2015 was a year of sorrow for my little family. Nothing went as we hoped.

The end of this year has been particularly horrible. The week before Christmas, Jared and I found out some devastating news about the health of someone we love dearly. Fortunately, Jared had a random four days off where he could travel to see this family member and help in any way he could. While he was gone, I contracted the flu (and yes, I did get a flu shot!). I spent the Christmas week huddled by myself on the couch trying keep my body in one piece. One blessing out of that illness is the people from my church and my family who kept checking on me. I don't think I would have made it without their encouragement.

At this time, I am not comfortable sharing the details of all these trials. Perhaps one day I might. You could legitimately then ask, well then Megan, what is the point of this post? You're raising more questions than you are answering! For the time being, I would like to share a tiny pinprick of hope I experienced in the midst of this life valley. Perhaps if you had a year like I did, this post might give you hope as well.

This past Sunday at church, the sermon covered Joshua 1:1-9. I read ahead through chapter three to get the full picture of this story. In these chapters, the Israelites are poised right outside the Promised Land, waiting to enter. But in this crucial moment, their beloved leader Moses, the man who led them out of Egypt and brought the Ten Commandments down from God, died. Joshua, Moses' right-hand man, now had to step up and lead right after losing one of the most-important people in his life. I can't imagine what kind of fear and sorrow Joshua was experiencing when God called him to be "strong and courageous". 

I'm sure Joshua was also worried when he saw the obstacle he would have to lead the Israelites across to reach the Promised Land: the Jordan river, swollen past its normal size by flooding. Moses had led the Israelites across the Red Sea during the Exodus. No doubt Joshua wondered if he could do the same across the Jordan. Joshua was no Moses, but God had called him nonetheless.

Though I am not leading God's chosen people, I feel a little bit like Joshua these days. I'm reeling from grief about how I wished life would have gone. All I can see at this point is the swollen waters of my own personal Jordan river. The river is so wide, I can't see across it to the future. The river is so deep, I'm afraid I'll drown in it. I feel so powerless in the face of these waters...what can I even do?

Here's what God told Joshua to do in Joshua 1:2 (KJV): "Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan..."When I heard this verse, it was like God said to me, "this year is over. What is done is done. Now arise, and cross the river Jordan". God told me to move forward to the Promised Land.

Even as I was writing this post and looking up the specific words in Joshua 1:2, another passage jumped at me: "This is what the Lord says - He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 'Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland". Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 (NIV).

So what does this all mean. What is the point? The point is, life is hard. We live in a broken world. Things often do not go as we wish. But we must move forward. We must arise, and cross the river Jordan. For God is making a path through the wilderness. If you continue to read in Joshua, God halts the flow of the Jordan river all together so the Israelites can pass. The waters pile up, but God's mighty hand keeps them in their place. Joshua and the Israelites cross safely into the next part of their journey.

My prayer is the same. To cross this river Jordan into the new year, with hope that God is doing a mighty work in the Walker family. I don't know what this "new thing" is yet, but if God is in it, how can it be bad? If you are also glad to leave 2015 far behind, cross this river with me!