Written by Deanna Cable, Connecting Streams Volunteer
Have you ever thought, “When I acquire enough bible knowledge, then I’ll step out in faith.” I don’t know about you, but this was my thought process. The problem is, how much is enough? I enrolled in a bible study during the Sunday morning 9am service at my church, and then I went directly to another bible study during the 11am service. So, what’s the problem you ask? Well, believe it or not, by the time the second class was over, I had forgotten what I had learned in the first class. I remember thinking that I was pathetic. I actually believed the lie that God was never going to be able to use me. Have you ever had this thought?
I had many thoughts that kept me from stepping out in faith. “I don’t have the gift of evangelism, I’m not smart enough, and I’m not educated enough, I’m going to make a fool of myself.” Each and every one of these lies, I believed and I was paralyzed by fear.
I can totally relate to the Israelites. I also had wasted years wandering aimlessly, feeling like God had more for me, but not knowing how to get to the Promised Land. That was me. That was my life – very little fruit. I was frustrated, not knowing how to get out of the rut I was in. Then I received an invitation to join the team volunteering in the prison and everything changed. I took my eyes off of myself and put them on Jesus just long enough to take that first step. I took a step of faith.
I want to share with you what my first visit looked like. It was in the secure lock down unit of the prison. I was so afraid that I barely said anything. I remember giving the inmate that I was meeting with a copy of the Compass and the Father’s love letter. The Compass is literature that contains the gospel message. We use it as a tool in Connecting Streams.
While browsing through the literature, she asked if I was a Christian and I replied “yes”. Profound, don’t you think? She said that her parents were Christians, but that she was a practicing muslim. During my visit I spent most of the time listening to what she had to say, and then when our visit was over I left. A couple of weeks later I went back to see her. Imagine my surprise when she greeted me with a huge smile. Her whole countenance had changed. She shared that in the past week while in her cell, she knelt and prayed the sinners prayer that she found in the Compass .
Remember, I did three profound things: 1. I handed her some literature. 2. I said “yes” to her question, and 3. I listened to what she had to say.
That’s it. God did the rest. So my point is that He just wants a willing heart. Where ever I am lacking He fills in the gaps and I get to share in the blessing. God doesn’t want me to live a life of fear. His promise to the Israelites is the same promise He has for me. My experience has been that if I trust Him and if I follow Him, He will be with me. He is in the prison. He has already gone ahead of me. His power is available for me. I don’t have to rely on the power of just my own resources.
I like to compare the way I felt before my first visit, to the way the Israelites must have felt while standing on the banks of the Jordan River. Just like the Israelites, in order for me to get to the life God had for me, I had to get my feet wet. I had to choose. I had to take one step into the water and then I would see Him at work. He was teaching me how trust works.
“Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.” Joshua 3:15-16
When the priests carrying the Ark came to the edge of the river and stepped into the water, the water upstream stopped flowing. It stood in a heap a great distance away. It was supernatural.
My pastor recently said that if we obey God’s word the results will be supernatural. God has so much power and He wants to manifest it in our lives, but if we want to see His power we have to take the risk. We have to take the step. We have to take the spiritual risk of trusting Him. I know that I almost missed out on the designed life that God had for me because I had made an unconscious vow that I would only trust myself and the things I thought I could control.
So, what’s your Jordan River? Where is God asking you to take a seemingly impossible step, a step of faith? This is what I know: everybody faces a Jordan. Every one of us faces a barrier that is keeping us from the life God has for us.
Connecting Streams was the highway that brought me to the banks of my own Jordan. It was time for me to take the spiritual risk, and start really trusting in Christ against my own instinct. I had to step out into the water. When I did I learned the lesson …that God’s power gets released when I trust Him enough to obey Him.
Did you notice how God didn’t part the water until the priest put a foot into it? Don’t you hate that?
In Pete Wilson’s book called Plan B he said:
“Let’s be honest. I don’t want to have to wait until I get all the way into the river for God’s power to show up. I don’t want to have to put my foot in the water. I want God’s power when I’m still fifty yards away; or even better, before I even decide to move. I’d rather be sure.”
Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works with faith. We have to move before we’re sure. We have to step into the floodwaters while they’re still gushing past us. This is where my faith and trust were built. When I was completely dependent on God I found Him to be sufficient. I found out that He was all that I needed.
There has been a new excitement in my walk with the Lord since I said yes and took that step of faith. I remember sharing with a friend of mine that I felt like I had been born again, again. I felt as though I had just woken up from a deep sleep. I stepped out because I believed that God wanted to transform women’s lives in the prison, which I have witnessed Him do, but little did I know that in the process He would also transform my life. God has blessed me far beyond what I could ever imagine possible through this ministry.