“Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.” (Joshua 3: 15)
It may be obvious that God is bigger than me, but somehow I keep forgetting that fact. Instead, I spend much of my time trying to bring a problem to God that is “manageable.” I’m the Goldie Locks of prayers. I don’t want to give God a problem too big in case he can’t handle it. And I don’t want to give him a problem too small, because I should just suck it up and do that one on my own. Instead, I want a problem that’s just right. Something “do-able” for him, but too hard for me on my own.
Of course that’s not how God works at all
After Moses died Joshua was selected by God to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. His first act was to take them across the Jordan river. Of course God wasn’t content taking them across the Jordan at any time of the year. Instead he chose to cross the Jordan when it was at it’s most powerful.
God was showing both the Israelites and the Canaanites that what they considered powerful, he did not. He showed them that what they considered a challenge, he did not. God didn’t want there to be any confusion about who was the one true God. To do this, God was willing to demonstrate his power.
The Canaanites worshiped the god Baal, who had achieved “head god” status precisely because he had beaten the sea-god and could control the water. By crossing the Jordan at the height of its power (and therefore Baal’s power) God was directly challenging that claim to god-hood!
But he was also sending a message to the Israelites. They were shown (once again) just what God could do. They were going to see a major miracle to prove (once again) that God is the God of the amazing, and that nothing was out of his reach.
I can only imagine how I would have responded if I were Joshua. I would have been right there bargaining with God saying, “isn’t there a better time to do this? Like, oh, I don’t know…maybe in the middle of a drought?!” My natural reaction is to find a way to make the problems I face easier for God to solve. But that’s not how God operates. God is constantly doing what we consider the “impossible.” In fact, you might consider him an expert in the impossible. He doesn’t want us to be content with just a “normal” crossing, he wants us to know he’s still God when things are at their most difficult! He wants us to know that our success doesn’t come from ourselves, but from our dependence on him.
God operates in this radical way. He’s not into expectation management. You’ll never see God under-selling and over-delivering. God always does the miraculous and amazing. I hope that some day this lesson will actually stick in my brain, and I won’t try to limit God’s power just because I can’t see how he’s going to solve a problem.