“There I saw a stream flowing east from beneath the door of the Temple and passing to the right of the altar on its south side. The man brought me outside the wall through the north gateway and led me around to the eastern entrance. There I could see the water flowing out through the south side of the east gateway. Measuring as he went, he took me along the stream for 1,750 feet and then led me across. The water was up to my ankles. He measured off another 1,750 feet and led me across again. This time the water was up to my knees. After another 1,750 feet, it was up to my waist. Then he measured another 1,750 feet, and the river was too deep to walk across. It was deep enough to swim in, but too deep to walk through.” Ezekiel 47:4 NLT
Recently my husband and I joined a gym. I’ve loved going to classes, walking the treadmill, and even lifting some weights. However, one of the machines that has intimidated me the most is the Elliptical. So, yesterday I faced my fears and tried it. We’re actually on a mini vacation in Phoenix and I decided to try out the fitness center. Well, no one was there, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try the Elliptical. No one would see me if I looked foolish–and i could jump off if it got too hard…! I chose the interval setting and proceeded to torture myself for the next 20 minutes. In reality it wasn’t that bad, but as each interval session got harder (obviously) I began to wonder if I could keep going. Somehow I persevered and made it to the end.
Actually, I sort of enjoyed it. As I pushed through each challenging section I looked forward to the “resting” phase. I thought of this prophetic story about Ezekiel. I’m not sure what the prophecy is really all about, but it’s a great picture of what happens when we press in to our “divine destiny” and go deeper in our ministries, careers, and our relationships with God.
(This is my interpretation of the story…)
At the beginning of his vision, Ezekiel is on dry ground. He’s observing the current, perhaps dreaming about what God might have in mind. Quickly he finds himself off the shore with water up to his ankles. In other words, he’s started. He’s no longer on the sidelines, he’s stepping out, moving into what God has called him to do.
God calls him to go a little deeper, to move out even farther from the shore. This time the water is up to his knees. It’s now a little more difficult for him to walk. He wants to do what God’s calling him to do, but it’s getting harder with each step. He begins to feel the current. He sees the safety of shore off in the distance. He’s almost at the point of no return. Almost.
Then, the moment comes. The next leg of his voyage takes him into water up to his waist. Now it’s getting serious! He’s quickly becoming committed. He has to fight the current to stay upright. He may be on his tippy toes, holding his breath, fearful of what could happen if he loses his footing.
And finally, he gets to a place where he can no longer touch the bottom. God has moved him to a place of total dependence–he has to trust himself to let go and “go with the flow.” God is in control now, and he is just along for the ride.
I just love this picture of our adventure in God. He calls us, incrementally, step by step to deeper things, greater impact, and increased influence. He doesn’t give it to us all at once, or like me on that Elliptical machine, we’d jump right off and say “This is too hard!” But thankfully, he draws us gradually into the deeper things, allowing us to acclimate but at the same time continually nudging us forward.
Wherever you are in this journey, hear God calling you to go a little deeper. To trust Him a little more. To get your eyes off the shore and what’s behind you, and to lean into Him to take you where He wants you to go.
Prayer; Father we thank you that we don’t face this journey on our own. We surrender our fears, our need for control, and our desire for safety and security. We ask you to take us where you want us to go, and to use our lives for your purposes, amen.