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Would you swim in this?
Not wise. Right?
To all who responded to our call for support and prayer at year-end: We are deeply grateful. Thank you! (More below.)
At fourteen, we are not the wisest creatures on the planet. I swam in a river like this–at about this stage–when I was around fourteen. Foolish, it was! And can you guess what happened?
It was fun playing in the current, letting it take me along… until I thought I should go back upstream. I discovered I couldn’t! I was caught in the current and it was taking me downriver–FAST.
I was a poor swimmer and I almost drowned that day. It taught me a valuable life lesson about currents. It is also a life lesson about which Isaiah speaks in today’s Scripture passage. When I read this verse, I think about that day in that muddy, overflowing river.
The rivers, fires, and currents in today’s passage are all metaphors, of course. But having been in a real overflowing river, I can tell you that being caught up in circumstances or drives feels a lot like that river’s current.
The commonality is that when we are caught in the current of things, it can feel virtually impossible to break free. You are taken further from where you want to be, to where you do not want to go, and compelled to do what you do not want to do–as the current took me where I did not want to go.
What are the rivers and fires in your life? What holds you back from what you want to do or takes you where you do not want to go? What has a grip on you and is sweeping you along in its current?
God’s promise in today’s passage is hopeful–but there is a catch! In order for this promise to apply, you must be in agreement with God as much as possible in your choices and behaviors. Notice that I said “as much as possible”. None of us are capable of perfection.
Is your current something like substance abuse, unmanaged anger, or pornography? Is it making money, a need for acknowledgment, or a critical spirit? Of what grip are you unable to break free? What shames you and renders you unable to do what God has called you to do?
Whatever it is, know this: You CAN break free, however impossible it may feel at the moment. Though not easy, it IS possible.
Know too that your freedom will likely not be an event but a process. The process may take a long time, even months, years, or decades. The most important thing is to be in the process and STAY in the process.
You may fail right after you prayed for help. Stop right there and refuse to fall into a pit of shame. Shame will put you right back in the current. Failing in the process is not as important as STAYING in the process and knowing that you will be free… in time.
Is it God’s failure that you are not free immediately? No. It takes time because the stronghold works through your mind and emotions. It will be broken in the same way it was formed: In a process over time.
God will make a way–this is certain–if you want to be free. He will work in and through you in the reverse of how you got into the stronghold’s grip in the first place.
Your first step is accepting that you will be free of the current that has swept you along. Read today’s verse. Now, pray it. Make it personal, like this: “When I am in deep water, swift current, or great trouble, You are with me. I will neither drown nor be consumed by fires of oppression. Thank You for making the way for me to be free.”
It will happen. It is inevitable.
In a few weeks, I will host a Zoom call. This will be for you who have covered us in prayer and supported us financially. I want you to know more of what you are enabling. I also want to know YOU, what you need, and how we can better pray for you.
When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (Isa 43:2 NLT)
Prayer: LORD, when I am caught in the current of circumstances and drives, help me not panic and be mindful that You can enable me to survive anything. When I feel swept away or burned up, You are with me even then. Give me strength to look beyond my feelings to the certainty of Your promises. I will come through every difficulty. In You, it is already done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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“Today’s Seed” from E-MIN Jan. 4, 2023