Seth Lewis

Wade in the Water

Trusting God means acting on the knowledge that he knows what he’s talking about, even when his commands don’t make sense to me. Even before I see God’s provision. Even when provision looks impossible. Even when obedience is costly. Even if God doesn’t provide in the ways I think he should. Trusting God means being willing to get my feet wet, knowing that God’s promises will hold, and that in his own way, God’s hand will provide what is needed for the next step.

In 1998, Eva Cassidy recorded an old spiritual called “Wade in the water”. I was listening to her sing it in my car just recently:
Wade in the waterWade in the water, childrenWade in the waterGod’s gonna trouble the water
The lyrics are simple, but this water runs deep. As you’d expect from a spiritual, the reference is biblical. The rest of the song speaks of the children of Israel on the banks of the Jordan river, ready to cross into the promised land. In Joshua chapter 3, God tells the priests of Israel to carry the ark of the covenant, the symbol of his relationship with his people and presence with them, to the edge of the flooded river and stand in the water. They obeyed, and as soon as their feet got wet, God began to stop the flow of a mighty river and clear a path for his people to walk across on dry land.
Dry land—but the feet of the priests were still wet. They were wet because they had to “wade in the water” before God “troubled the water” for them. They had to obey before they saw the provision. They had to take a very literal step of faith into what was entirely impossible for them, trusting that God would keep his promise to take them across. It would have looked pretty silly for them to stand on the edge of the river if God never parted it. But he did.
The same dynamic plays out over and over again in the life of God’s people: we are often faced with situations where we must choose if we will trust God’s promises of provision, or turn away from where he is leading us in order to blaze our own path, by our own means. We like the sound of God’s promises for his children.
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The Stars Still Shine in the Daytime

Proximity is more important than size. It is more important than magnificence. You don’t have to be the biggest and shiniest in the universe to bring warmth and light to the people around you. You can be completely average, like our sun, and do the job quite well. You’ve just got to be close. 

All night long we can see the stars shining down on us, but have you ever considered the fact that they also shine down on us all day? It’s not like they adjust the brightness of their burning to our sleep cycles. They shine on, always the same, always contributing something to our light. The big difference for us is just that one local star who comes around every morning and shines so brightly that the light of all the other billions of stars in the universe can’t compete at all.
Our sun is not a large star, as stars go. It’s bigger than some, but there are a lot of stars far bigger than it is—some of them more than 100 times bigger. But those super-massive balls of burning light only look like tiny pinpricks in the sky to us, and they are easily drowned out by our average little local fireball whenever he comes around. It’s not the size of the star that matters most, from our perspective: It’s the proximity. Those huge suns really are huge, but they are too far away to keep us warm. They are too distant to pull us in and shape our calendars and seasons, too far removed to fill the face of our moon with reflected light at night.
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How to Never Burn Out

We’ll serve better and longer if we recognise the reality of our limits and live within them. But God gave us this life for a reason—not to be hoarded and protected at all costs, but to be shared generously in the pattern of our Saviour. So tend the fire with wisdom and care. Take reasonable precautions against burning out. 

Have you noticed that people aren’t quite the same after the pandemic? Apparently, humans beings can’t just pause most of their normal life activities for two years and then suddenly switch it all back on again without any difficulties. There are difficulties. People are generally more tired doing the same things, which makes them less willing to commit to the same number of things, which leaves some things undone, or at least struggling to get done. This seems to be especially true for voluntary activities like the local committees and clubs and churches that hold communities together and serve the needy and vulnerable. Serving others in these ways takes time and energy; resources that are already being demanded by commitments we can’t get out of, so often the easiest option is to cut the voluntary activities out. It makes sense. We only have so much to give. If we’re not careful, we’ll burn out. But I know a way to keep that from happening.
Here’s solution that will keep you from ever burning out in your service for others: don’t light the fire in the first place.
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