We woke up that morning and rain was pounding outside the window. It had rained for days before our arrival. We wondered if we had traveled to paradise, only to be trapped in the small room we were staying.
We had two choices: stay hunkered down or make it an adventure.
So, out we went! I don’t usually equate adventure with mud, but that’s what greeted us. Lots and lots of slippery, thick mud. Mud that sucks your shoes in and won’t let go. Mud that pulls you in up to your knees. Mud that tries to throw you off narrow paths into the cascading water below.
We hiked all week. Some of the hikes seemed almost impossible due to how steep they were, and when you added slippery mud, it became both amazing and bit scary.
At one point I fell into a crater. My hands and arms were muddy. My knees were bruised. My hair hung in my face, for my hands were so muddy I couldn’t touch it with my fingers.
Eventually we reached the falls. I had climbed over thick vines. My socks and shoes were destroyed. The mud tried to pull me down. But my feet had stayed on the path! I held my arms up and soaked in the cascading, thunderous water fall.
It was worth it.
Every step. Every hurdle. Every plunk in the mud.
Can I share something? Right now, our faith feels like it is on slippery ground.
The current culture of debate and discord has the potential to pull us under, throw us off track, and may even cause us to want to give up. It feels even more slippery because much of the discord is coming from within.
In times like this, it would be easy to take our eyes off Jesus’ words:
He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.’” John 7:38 (AMP)
It’s important, more than ever, that we keep our eyes on Jesus.
Faith is the greatest gift, but it’s also hard at times. It’s sacrificial. Jesus asks that we carry our cross, and that’s not an easy ask. It’s more than Sunday school and driving to a church on Sunday morning. It’s our life. It’s our very being, as we call ourselves believers and Christ followers.
The mission that Jesus spoke of in Luke 4:18-19 has not gone away. There’s still a world to love. A message to share.
Jesus never called us to point out everything that is wrong with others, but to step into those gaps and bring light. To be world changers. To love tangibly. To be “strong and immovable” (1 Corinthians 15:58) and to understand that nothing we do for the Lord is ever in vain. So, when it feels slippery, and the enemy whispers, “just give up.”
We say no.
We keep our feet on the path. If we fall down, we get up again. We keep our eyes firmly fixed on the living water that is our Savior, and we keep going.
We praise him for the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.
We find joy in the harder paths, for that is where we learn how to trust him.
We are shaped, carved, molded and refined as we hold fast to him in the adventurous walk that is faith.
After clambering down the steep path, we climbed in our kayaks and headed toward shore.
I was wet. Dirty beyond belief. But happy. Thankful. Grateful.
I think one day we’ll feel the same when we stand before our Savior, and he looks at our hard, wonderful journey and says, “Good job, daughter You stayed the course.”
That will be our reward, yes. But the reward of walking with him in the slippery mess that is our world is also great, for as we follow him:
We learn how to trust.
How to keep going.
How to mature spiritually.
How to overcome that which is hard.
How to hold our tongue.
How to speak truth with gentle and discerning boldness.
How to love well.
How to forgive others, and ourselves.
How to choose what is eternal over what matters little.
And so much more. . .
If faith feels slippery to you right now, I want to pray with you.
My greatest hope is that faith transcends from a chore or impossible task to an adventure. That, as you follow Jesus, you’ll be drenched in living water over your thoughts, heart, and life.
And that it will splash out of you onto those around you, for that is the adventure of faith.
As I hiked the steep, slippery path I learned that I had to stay focused on my feet or I would fall. It’s not that I couldn’t enjoy the scenery, but I couldn’t get caught up in feelings (fear), or on the rushing water below. As long as I watched where my feet were placed, I had the best chance of staying on the path.
Read Proverbs 4:18-26
Q: When it comes to faith, describe one way to remain focused and aware of where you are going.
“Every once in a while, God brings along a book you desperately need. Suzie Eller’s Come With Me brought a clarity and focus I’ve prayed for, reminding me that I don’t have to have all the answers . . . that I don’t need to figure out which way to go. My only job is to follow Jesus. He’ll take care of the rest.”–Joanna Weaver, author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World
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