by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Like the frigid water tumbling over the polished stones, my thoughts tumbled and gurgled angrily against the obstacles in my mind. Distractions. Financial crisis. Heartbreak induced fibro flares. 

Real obstacles in a very real world. 

But we’re not supposed to be of this world, even though we are in it.

I stood still on the creek bank and listened to the water as it moved along. A tall reed next to me swayed in the breeze. I could hear the birds of winter chattering in the Juniper tree behind me. Standing still is a good thing. Pondering the things of God is also a good thing. 

I knew I needed to pray. Right then. At that very moment.

Lord, I don’t know how to get past this gigantic wall I’ve hit! Please, please help me.

I promise this is what dropped into my spirit:

You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You can’t go around it. You have to go through it!

I laughed out loud at God’s humor. Do you recall “Going on a Bear Hunt” from your childhood? That’s exactly what the Lord was speaking in my spirit! Every single obstacle the kids had as they searched for the bear was met with a decision: “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We can’t go around it. We’ll have to go through it!” Remember? Are you laughing now too? I used to love that little ditty. I didn’t realize until now that it held such deep biblical truth.

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, Pharaoh sent his armies to hunt them down and bring the people back into slavery. God’s people found themselves on the banks of the Red Sea with nowhere to go. Pharaoh’s armies were within earshot, the hooves of a thousand horses pounding against the sand. What were they to do? Their journey to freedom was blocked by the Red Sea. 

They couldn’t go over it. They couldn’t go under it. They couldn’t go around it. They had to go through it.

Moses stood on the Word of God, raised his staff, stretched out his hand over the sea and it parted. Because of God’s faithfulness and Moses’ obedience, the children of God crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground and their enemies were swallowed up by the angry waves.

Joshua did much the same. He was leading the children of Israel into their promised land. After leaving Jericho, they came as far as the banks of the Jordan River and could go no farther. The land of their dreams was in sight. A place to call home was just across the river. But what could they do? 

They couldn’t go over it. They couldn’t go under it. They couldn’t go around it. They had to go right through the middle of the Jordan River.

And once again God was faithful. 

God told Joshua to tell the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go for it” (Joshua 3:3). The ark of the covenant was God’s dwelling place among the people as they journeyed through the wilderness. He would go before them to part the waters so they could reach their promised land.

Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and [the distractions and your financial crisis and your heartbreak creating such a fierce fibro flare]paraphrased.

I opened my eyes to see not the gurgling and upset caused by obstacles to the flowing water. Instead, I saw polished stones, stones with no rough places, stones that glimmered against the water’s force.

I sensed the Lord stirring in my spirit again:

My Child, do you not know that I am with you? I am by your side to strengthen and guide. But you must take hold and trust Me. I have called you by your name – you are Mine. I have called you with wings of fire to melt the hearts of stone that have been wounded. But you must get over yourself. You must leave the past behind and move forward with Me, neither looking to the right nor the left. Listen for my directives and then do them. Do not hesitate. Do not make excuses. As you step out, strength and energy will meet you there. You will have all you need to accomplish the task I have given you. Trust Me, my child. Trust Me. Your hopes and dreams are unfolding before you, but you must trust and obey.

God’s Word would say to those of us who face an uncertain future, who feel like they’ve hit a brick wall, who don’t have the strength to take one more step:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” ~ Isaiah 43:1-3

Sweet friend, we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it. We can’t even go around it. We have to – yes, we must – go through it to the other side holding fast to the One who is faithful.

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when my back is up against a wall? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet) 

Have you been hurt by the church? Have you ever felt abandoned by God in the lonely fires of ministry? My book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife, will speak to your deepest wounds and help you find God’s Presence through it all. To find out more, visit my Amazon page.