The wind was a little wild this morning, and the clouds hung low. I peeked out from under my covers and saw a sliver of silver-gray daylight and the cedars dancing through the storm.
Today was the day God was going to show up.
We have been wandering up and down and all through this wilderness, going where we believe God has asked us to go, but the strain of it has nearly wasted me. The hills are steep and roll on one after another like waves so we can barely catch our breath on the way down before losing it again on the way back up.
Then, at what we hoped was the very end of the journey, we came to a river. We did not know there were going to be any rivers.
It was too wide to swim.
It was too deep to cross.
And we didn’t have a boat.
I stood on the shores of this great big river and I wanted to shout up to the heavens. “Why did you lead us here? We cannot cross here!”
Because it seemed a little personal, right then, when I had prickers in my socks and blisters on my toes. No one had said anything about rivers.
A few other people joined us on the shore and contemplated the water with us. “There might be a way to cross,” someone said.
My heart skipped over that little bit of hope.
“I think someone upstream has a boat.”
A little whisper came into my mind, “Have faith. God will show up.”
So we set up camp and we waited. We waited through one day, and another. It was dark in the night and it was dark in the day. I fought against the impossibility of crossing that little slip of water. Fat, salty tears dropped into the waves, and I ate too many of the frozen cream puffs someone sent over for consolation.
Surely there had to be a way! When was there not a way? For heaven’s sake, I could see the other side!
But there was no way the first day, and there was no way the second day.
This is a test of faith, I reasoned. Other people said it too, and we all nodded wisely and said faithful things and I stoked up my belief because this was going to work, this faith thing.
That is how we came to the third day. This day.
And God showed up.
But God said no.
Maybe it was a “not yet”–it’s hard to tell with God– but it wasn’t a “yes” and it certainly wasn’t a bridge or a boat or even a life vest. It wasn’t anything my faith could conjure up.
The river remained, wide and lapping at the shores. And we remained stranded with the great big wilderness behind us and the impervious waters before us and a God who said “no” and not much else.
But at least we were there with God.
And I thought to myself, on a grey day when the wind was wild and the cedars danced, that if all I have in this life is a great big wilderness and a river I can’t cross, it is enough if God is in the midst of it.
*This past week, my husband completed the long and arduous process of applying for Active Duty as an Army chaplain. His paperwork (which was lost once) was resubmitted on time. But due to a random computer error, his recruiter team was unable to submit his packet by the deadline. All attempts to fix the problem failed, even though they stayed up until 3 am working on it.
There was no boat.
But we are here at the shores of a great big river with a mighty God, and that is enough.