Two weeks ago in Life Groups, we studied one of my favorite Bible stories. In Joshua chapter 3, we read that it was time for the Israelites to move into the land God had promised them; but first they had to get across the Jordan River, which was at flood stage. Not an easy task… In fact, it was a very scary task.
As we look at the crossing, we can learn several things about stepping out in faith. First, the Israelites were told to follow the Ark of the Covenant. This represented God to them. We too must follow God and go where he is leading us. Then the Israelites were told to consecrate themselves. We, too, should regularly be checking our lives for personal sin and repenting of that sin, preparing ourselves to see God work.
The third lesson I see in this passage is one that our children (and us!) would benefit from learning: Step out and wait for God. When it was time to cross the river, the priests stepped into the Jordan, carrying the Ark of the Covenant. When they stepped in, the water stopped…a long way away. The priests had to stand in that water that continued to flow past them, waiting for all the water to pass. They had to step out and wait, to trust that God would do what He said He would do, even though they didn’t see the results immediately.
Step out and wait. What a valuable lesson to teach our children. God doesn’t promise us a life of ease. As parents, we often pray for our children to be protected, to have an “easy” life. How much more important is it for them to learn that even when things are hard, they should follow God and TRUST that He will work out the situation for their best and God’s glory? Let’s face it, life IS hard. Sometimes it is painfully hard. We must teach our children about God’s faithfulness. Only when they truly believe and trust God will they be able to step out in faith and stand still, waiting for the time when God provides exactly what they need.
If you take a quick look at Chapter 4 of Joshua, you will see that the Israelites built a memorial to remind themselves and future generations of God’s mighty work on their behalf. This remembering is a way to teach children to step out and wait on God. As parents, I would challenge you to prepare your children to step out in God’s commands while waiting to see Him move. Then remind your children regularly of all the ways God has proven Himself faithful. This lesson will benefit them throughout their entire life. In a culture of instant gratification and me first attitudes, this lesson can prepare our children to change the world for Jesus.