Trust in the Lord

     The book of Joshua sounds a bit like the story of “How the West Was Won.” There are epic battles between the Tribes of Israel and her enemies. Following the time of war, Joshua, the leader who succeeded Moses, apportioned regions of the country to each of the twelve tribes.  
     Now, many people don’t find the book of Joshua to be compelling, except for Chapter Three. The third chapter marks Israel’s entrance into its new homeland. This portion of Israel’s saga records a similar pattern to the exodus from Egypt. In both cases, Israel marches across the dry beds of two different water courses.
     However, during the exodus from Egypt, the people were instructed by God to wait until the waters of the Red Sea had been pulled back before crossing. Conversely, the Israelites were commanded to step into the rushing waters of the Jordan River, and only as their feet touched the water would God hold back the flood until all the people had crossed over.  I use the term flood because during springtime the Jordan River can be a torrent that devastates everything in its path. At its highest levels the Jordan can reach a depth of twenty to thirty feet, with the first step off its banks being straight down.
     During the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites had taken their first steps of faith. However, forty years later, the Israelites had greater experience when it came to trusting God with their lives. Crossing a boundary of water on dry ground after the deluge has been pushed back is much less daunting than stepping into the rapids at flood stage, all the while trusting that God will make a way forward.
     Frankly, this is how faith works. With every step we take, the challenge to trust God grows. I learned a long time ago to be careful when I ask God to increase my faith. Like patience, God doesn’t endow one with an additional dosage of assurance. Instead, God grants us opportunities to stretch our capacities to trust Him.
     Mother Teresa once said, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” The truth is that God often gives us more than we can handle, so that we might further lean upon Him.
     I think this is a good word for the times in which you and I are living. Each day during this national crisis, I feel like I am walking into a stage five flood. Yet with each step I take, I discover that God provides new and unique ways for me to keep moving forward. Perhaps this is the discovery Anthony Showalter and Elisha Hoffman made when they wrote:
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Be Blessed, My Friends!
Pastor d