Lately (Meeting the Jordan)

21 Sep

There’s been lots of reading–scholarly reading at that. (And do you know how much it drains your brain to read around fifty pages of research each day?) Lots of learning to skim and discerning what pieces of information to keep and discuss. I’ve been figuring out things on my own as well as drawing from a forum of clamoring, discordant voices. I’ve planted my feet in fresh soil and begun a new kind of growth as I become enamored with the world of the library and the possibilities it opens for the community. I realize now how amazing people can be when we come together with open minds, offering everything freely without any regard for power.

So if I’ve been silent lately it’s because I’ve been overwhelmed in the very best way. I’m exhausted and simultaneously refreshed in a way I can only describe as spiritual. It’s continually amusing to me how much I thrive when I’m pushed beyond what I know into unexplored places. These days I laugh and cry at the smallest things and smile even when I’m trying to sleep off a headache. I’m writing and downloading new music and being unusually outgoing. This fall has been a spring of sorts for me.

A few months ago, I felt God telling me that I needed to read the book of Joshua. When I got the message, it was one of those weeks when I couldn’t help feeling a little defeated. The past six months or so have a been a bit depressing for me. After my first attempt at grad school fell flat, I felt like I was banging my head against the same brick wall day after day. I continued looking for meaningful part-time work and started volunteering at our public library. I was tired, though, and unaccustomed to feeling unsuccessful. My creativity was shrinking and eventually I just couldn’t motivate myself anymore. I came to the edge of my human ability to encourage myself and belly-flopped  into a pool of need. All my endless positivity couldn’t hide from God my dire need to have some reassurance that good things would happen. I got up the courage to ask him for–or should I say demand–good things and he responded with a homework assignment.

In Joshua, the Israelites have been wandering the wilderness for around forty years while waiting for the generation of Hebrews who were delivered from Egypt to die off. When Moses dies just before reaching Canaan, Joshua takes over as leader and is given a promise from God that it’s finally time to cross over to the Promised Land/Canaan. There’s a few problems with that plan, though, from a human perspective. One, there’s a giant, raging river between them and their new home and two, the people of Canaan aren’t just going to hand over the country and leave. They’re fierce warriors and there’s many more of them than are Israelites. Joshua must have thought God was out of his mind but all God has to do is promise him again and again. He tells Joshua not to be afraid for he’s already given them the land. He’s prepared the way and the people and nothing could stop them now. So Joshua takes him at his word and prepares the people to cross the Jordan. In typical God-form, the waters are parted and the Israelites cross on dry land, rejoicing. From there, the kingdoms of Canaan systematically (though, you know, not-so-seamlessly) crumble and bow before the God of Israel. Some people are brought into the Israelite family but others are…slaughtered mercilessly down to the last child. Yeah, Old Testament is pretty brutal.

The point is, the book of Joshua embodies the end of a long dry spell and a time of spiritual exile for God’s people. He renews his promise to bring them grace and bounty and they are ushered into a land that has already been given to them and it all starts with the river Jordan. When I began reading, I felt that I was on the wilderness side looking into the land of milk and honey and not knowing how I could ever make it across the rapids to that shore. Then I realized I wouldn’t be doing the swimming because all I had to do was surrender and ask. I’m not a big believer in wish-fulfillment-type prayer but I felt God telling me it was time. And, uhm, I was okay with that. 😉

A few weeks later, I was attending the orientation for my new school and feeling absolutely peaceful and happy about it. I knew that I was not only in the right place but that I was going to flourish there. I started asking God to prepare a place for me to work and to shape the hearts of the people who would employ me to make room a place for me. A few days after I started praying for that, a librarian approached me while I was volunteering and asked if I would be available for some part-time work. Of course, I calmly nodded and smiled. Today I interviewed for the position and should start training for it in a week or two.

Don’t you love it?


One Response to “Lately (Meeting the Jordan)”

  1. Anonymous September 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    God is amazing! He knows the plans he has for us, plans for good and not for evil, plans for a future. Sometimes we just need to hang on and enjoy the ride. Happy for you!

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