Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trudging Through Muddy Waters - Martin Wiles

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! Isaiah 43:2 NLT

Before us was a wide river; behind us were miles of unmarked territory.
Panthertown Valley in North Carolina was the most confusing place I had ever hiked. Numerous trails meandered through hundreds of acres, but none were marked. Maps didn’t seem to match the actual outlay of the areas, and a number of side trails veered off from the main trails, making following the map extremely difficult. 

On one particular hike, my brother, son, and I chose a route we’d not taken before. After hiking several miles, we came to a bulging river. None of us could swim, and we weren’t sure we could return the way we had come. While the water wasn’t raging, what if it was deeper than it appeared. My brother decided to be the guinea pig and made it safely across. My son was short; I’d have to carry him. So with a child on my back and a hiking staff in my hand, we traversed the cold water and made it safely to the other side. 

God’s Old Testament people had been through deep and muddy waters more than once. In their history, wave after wave of foreign invaders attacked them and on several occasions carried them away as captives. But each time, God delivered them. 

Like the nation of Israel, I can recount an entire list of muddy water episodes: rebellious children, dying relatives, financial meltdowns, broken relationships, unemployment, low-paying jobs, abuse, cancer, and physical ailments. And if I haven’t faced the muddy waters myself, I’ve been close to someone who has. 

God never gave up on the nation of Israel. He always came to their rescue. He’s done the same for me. Just as I couldn’t see the bottom of the river we crossed, so I’ve not been able to see the bottom of the muddy-water episodes I’ve encountered. But it doesn’t matter. I knew the One who allowed me to cross through the waters, and He had a reason for doing so. The lessons I’ve learned have resulted in spiritual growth. 

And God has given me many opportunities to share my lessons with children, teens, and adults. I’ve also noticed that people traversing muddy-water episodes listen more carefully to someone who has been through the muddy waters themselves. 

When God takes you through muddy waters, enjoy the journey and be open to what He’s trying to teach you.

Prayer: Father, we trust You to guide us through life’s muddy waters, believing You will keep us safe and provide something better on the other side. 

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