“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
I don’t know if any of you have noticed the same thing, but when God asks me to do something, and I begin to step out in faith, it seems like my world falls apart and all hell breaks loose. Have you been there?
Suddenly, you’ve entered a world unknown. Eyes focused on the sun in front of you, you get a hazy glimpse of an overgrown road ahead. It’s windy, so windy that it’s pushing you backwards. You lean forward to combat the strength behind the wind. The sun is so bright, you can only get snapshots of the path between blinking, watery eyes. Sand is stinging your face, whipping against you in the wind like needles. You hear a roar; a rush of water. Thunder rolls in the distance.
You wonder if you made a mistake.
“What is happening, God,” you cry, “I thought I was following your voice! I am being obedient! Why are you punishing me? Am I wrong? Did I not hear you correctly?”
The road ahead glistens in affirmation, clear for only a split second. But God is silent.
You carefully take another step, wary of what looks like an intense storm surrounding you. In the distance, you see a wave-not a wave a tsunami! It’s headed right toward you! You look behind you, suddenly remembering that caves and caverns exist there, you’ve been there before, hiding from the light. You turn towards them, seeking shelter from the storm ahead. Before you take a step, lightning crashes, lighting up the alien desert. The caves, the canyons, they crumble before your eyes. The core of the planet seems to crack, and not only are your caves destroyed, but the very ground beneath you is imploding. You turn back around thick, dusty air catching in your throat, and run towards the sun, towards the ominous wave.
You can’t see the road, only pin-pricks of light piercing through the dust to guide you. You can hear the rush of the wave, the roar of thunder, and now, you feel the splattering of water smacking your skin. To your left and to your right, the terrain is being plowed with water. The scrawny, dead trees are falling around you, the road behind you has been destroyed, the path ahead, invisible. You stop and kneel to the ground covering your head, bracing for the hit of the wave. You feel a chill take over the desert heat, feel the rush of the wind as the wave crashes. You feel the water crash around your feet, giving way to the sand beneath you. You know you’re going to die.
The water playfully laps around your feet, as if you were wading through the surf, enjoying a day at the beach. The wet sand is cool under your toes. You feel the warmth of sunlight dancing on your wet, soaked skin. You build the courage to open your eyes.
What you see renders you speechless. Something bubbles up inside you, a laugh or a sob, you can’t tell which. The dust around you has settled, the water around you keeping it at bay. The water! It surrounds you, ankle-deep, revealing a path, the path, illuminated by the sun, the path to your purpose, your calling.
Holding back the water are dead trees, downed by the wave. They are all running parallel to the path, all pointing in the same direction, towards the light.
The sand is cool beneath your feet, a light breeze dances in the air. The stinging dust settled, you stand, ready to carry on your journey, this time with confidence.
With the sky clear, you see a shape in the distance. It’s enormous, you think maybe a mountain range, possibly a large formation of clouds. As you walk further down the path, you see it is neither mountains or clouds, but a hand, a hand big enough, you think, to hold the entire planet in its palm! You stop in your tracks, a mixture of surprise, terror and awe welling up inside you. A whisper in the air lazily makes it way to your heart, a voice and a feeling all in one.
My child, you need not be afraid of the storms that come your way. You asked me to make a way for you, to show you the way. In the moment you took your first step in obedience to me, my mighty hand was set in motion on your behalf. The waves, the wind, the thunder were created by the movement of my hand. They were all part of the plan to clear a path for you in the wilderness. You need not be afraid, I am here to protect you, to lead you on the path to righteousness, to lead you to a life of purpose and freedom, not to harm you. Continue in peace, my child, and remember, should storms rise as you follow the light, know that I am in control.
It may seem like the world around us is falling apart. If God has asked you to step out in faith and obedience to him, rest assured, you can expect changes are coming! It may seem scary, it may feel dangerous even, but he is in control. He is clearing the path for you. Don’t give up. It’s only the beginning.
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