Getting our feet wet in God’s camp means sometimes we have to step into the river. ~ Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker
When the Israelites were on the verge of entering the Promised land, God commanded the priests to not just look toward the sea but to step into the river. It is one of the most counterintuitive commands in scripture.
“When you reach the banks of the Jordon River, take a few steps into the river.”
I don’t know about you, but getting my feet wet can sometimes be a scary thing to do. I would much rather have God part the water, and then I can step into the miracle.
We want God to go first.
That way I don’t get my feet wet.
I want Him to handle the big stuff.
Many times its our unwillingness to take a step of faith and get our feet wet that keeps us from experiencing a miracle. Some people spend their entire lives on the eastern shore of the Jordon waiting for God to part the river while God waits for them to get their feet wet.
I am sometimes one of those people who like to wait…wait…wait on the eastern shore.
When we hesitate in taking that next step, we then step into the mud pit of listening to the lies that we could not possibly do this…or do that. We just feel safe filing away those teachings, especially the hard ones, and not putting them into practice.
Just last week I heard my dear friend tell her story as I was learning about this stepping out to get my feet wet. Her story shook me. And it stepped on my toes…that have a hard time getting wet.
Tracy no longer just wanted to go to church to just hear a message and file it away…she wanted to step out into the Jordon River.
Here is her Jordon River story…
The Least of These
I am not a writer, nor do I pretend to be…but what I am, is a woman sold out to Jesus, truly seeking to know and feel his very heartbeat. That hasn’t always been my desire, but it is now. I pray every day that God continues to add “fuel to my fire” for Him. It wasn’t but a few years ago that I began my search for a deeper relationship with Christ. This, is where my story begins…
I’ll never forget the Sunday sermon that challenged me to the core. The message was based on Mathew 25:35-46. I have heard the story many times before, but never had it impacted me in a way that would radically change my life. Verse 45 is what I began to ponder on…”whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” I began to weep and to pray, “God, please send me a *least of these* to test my Spirit.”
I really did not know what my reaction would be and needed to find out. Sunday after the sermon I began to beg God to send me one of the “least of these”.
Can I just say…if you earnestly seek God, HE DOES ANSWER PRAYER!!
I continued to pray Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday after attending bible study at our church, I came out, and there SHE was. God had put my “least of these” right on the church steps. Now, what was I going to do?
I had two choices.
I could walk to my car and pretend I did not see her…or I could embrace what I had been diligently praying for. I just had to step out and take that first step.
I began to walk toward her, this small, shy African-American woman whose face told the story of a hard life. I was shaking so hard, I could hardly get words out. A simple “hello” was the only words I could think of. She smiled and quickly looked at the ground.
She carried with her a large black duffel bag. I then said, “Is there anything I can help you with? Can I take you somewhere?” She quickly made eye contact with me and asked if I could take her to a Laundromat.
“Of course I can!”, I replied. “Follow me to my car…and oh, let me help you with your bag.” She got in my car, ever so gently, not saying a word. I began to pray and ask God what to say to her. He simply said, “just show her you care.” I began with small talk…what’s your name, where are you from, etc. until we arrived at the Laundromat.
As she opened the door, I asked her if she had money for her laundry. “No, I usually try to find spare change here and there…I’ll be okay,” she said. All I knew to do was reach into my wallet and see what I could offer. I handed her a $20 bill and asked her if this would get her clothes washed? With a grin on her face, she simply replied, “YES”!
Okay, now what do I do? I couldn’t just leave her there, could I? I asked her how long it would take and decided on a time I would be back to the laundry mat when she finished. I went and ran some errands, got my own children situated so that I could go back and meet my new friend as I had promised.
All the way back, I poured out my heart to God. “What do I do with her now Lord? He simply said “Go”. As I pulled into the laundromat, there she was…sitting on the curb in front of the store, waiting on me. I got out, helped her put her bag in my car and looked at her and said (with all smiles) “Ok, Keisha, my new friend! Where to now?” She sat in silence. “Can I take you home?” She looked at me, lip quivering, and simply said, “I don’t have a home and I’m sorry, I don’t know what to tell you to do with me, I have nowhere to go.”
My thoughts now turned to confusion.
What was I thinking when I picked her up at the church with her huge bag of clothes? Why did it never dawn on me that she was homeless?
The only thing I knew to do was to bare my soul to her and introduce her to Jesus. I began to weep. I remember flat-out saying “I’m so sorry Keisha, over and over. I just wanted to know her story. We aren’t born with the goal of ending up homeless. I wasn’t good at sharing the gospel, so I just started with…
“Do you know Jesus”?
Boy, that’s all I needed to say! Keisha replied, “He’s the only thing that’s kept me going for this long!” I began to share some scripture…I would start and she would finish! Yes, she knew Jesus. I was so encouraged. My Spirit began to breathe again and I could focus at the task at hand…what to do with Keisha!
She had no family, no friends and no place to stay. So, I did the only other thing I could think of…I asked her where she had stayed before. Halfway houses, homeless shelters, under bridges and hotels…Ah-hah…a hotel, I could do that!! I told her to pick one and I’d take her there.
Of coarse, she picked one I’d never heard of or seen. I went to the front desk and paid for Keisha to stay there for two weeks. As we drove toward the room, there were men…scary looking men sitting outside the rooms with beer bottles in hand. The unexpected happened next. I began to feel empowered…weird, I know.
I confidently walked passed those men on the way to the motel room. I opened the door and the stench coming from the room slapped me in the face. However, her eyes lit up, as she smiled and said, “I can’t remember the last time I had a warm bed to sleep in.” She grabbed and hugged me as I began to leave, thanking me. I told her I loved her and Jesus loved her.
As I shut the door behind me and started to my car, I began to weep. I just realized I had spent the day with Jesus…yet when it was all said and done, I left HIM in a place I’d never stay myself.
That was the day my heart was radically changed. I began to love “people” no matter the race, gender, social status or religious background. Realizing it is only by God’s grace that I wasn’t the one standing in front of the church holding a bag…and realizing that I could be that one tomorrow.
After reading my friend’s story I feel like I have been with Jesus too. What does stepping out into the river look like to you? What will be your next step?
Let’s please gather in the comments below and let Tracy know how her stepping out has impacted you today. Sometimes those words of encouragement can be just the words that move us to the next stepping out. Visit her blog too and check out how she is learning to step out even more with sharing those stories.