“It’s hard to walk in shifting sand. I miss the rock and find I’ve nowhere left to stand.”
– Grant, Smith, and Chapman, “Arms of Love” –
Life has a way of changing up on us.
Uncharted lands show up beneath our feet and we realize that these sands are slippery and the old ways of walking don’t work so well.
I know a lot of truth in my head.
But has it made it’s way down deep into my feet? Does the truth infiltrate my walk?
In shifting sand, I learn to appreciate solidity. Somewhere beneath my slipping steps is a solid rock, and I believe it. I cling to the foundational truth with all my being.
Life is, at least on the surface, normal. I cut up bell peppers and put them in a skillet. I still take walks and fill my goats’ trough with hay. I wake up. I go to bed.
But all the learning and growing and changing in between are new things, new paths. My feet don’t know the way. The maps I’ve made–the way my life is supposed to look, supposed to play out–aren’t matching up with the landscape. Perhaps I made a mental map of a place that only existed in my head. Now the real land has been reached, and…it seems that I don’t have a clue how to walk across it.
Except for this: I know who my Jesus is.
That truth is what I hold to when I have no idea what to think, what to do, who to be.
I’m not used to not knowing. And at times–most of the time, honestly–I don’t like it very much.
But I’m getting used to it, I hope. Because apparently God wants me to be comfortable with situations where He is the only Knower. He is the only Rescuer. He is the only One who has arms strong enough, a heart deep enough, and a mind wise enough.
“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.”
– Isaiah 55:9, the Message paraphrase –
I’ve always known, at least in theory, that God is strong and I am weak.
So perhaps I have just never been this weak before. I’ve never had my soul drained so dry, my heart wrung so often, my communication tested beyond my skills. I’ve never felt the call of so many needs while feeling so incapable of meeting them.
At the end of my rope, though, is where I meet Him.
At the limit of my strength is where I run face-first into His unfailing grace. If He has never emptied me out so much, He also has never filled me this much before. Often, I have felt capable in my own power. Now? There is not a choice. I must have Him, or I will be undone. Things will fall apart if Jesus is not with me, right now.
Uncharted lands mean that I’m not in control. Slippery sand means I can’t place my confidence in my own steps.
And, as unsettling as the sand seems on the surface, it forces me to look to Him. Instead of trying to find stability in the sinking sand, I am learning to grab onto His hand.
“Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
but they did not know that I cared for them.
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like those
who raise an infant to their cheeks;
I bent down to feed them.”
– Hosea 11:3-4, NABRE –
His purpose lies, like an unseen map, beneath the sands of uncertainty. I may not see the path I’m traveling, but I know I am on it.
Some athletes train on beaches, subjecting their muscles to the unrelenting “give” of sand beneath their feet. Instead of giving their muscles something steady to push against, they purposely put themselves in a frustrating position. Normally, they might be able to go much faster or much farther on level, solid ground. The sand seems to soak up energy and effort, making muscles work harder for the same results.
God uses beach training too. He sometimes takes away the smooth path and puts us in desert conditions. We give our all just to keep going. Our spiritual “muscles” flex more than they have every flexed before.
God trains his runners in the sands of uncertainty. Here is where I learn to look to Him. Here is where I take His hand and let Him pull me along the unseen course.
Here is where I meet Him.
Is your sand shifting? Do things seem out of control? Join me in running the sands and trusting the Mapmaker. You can meet Him too, on these sands.
“I am not in control, but I am deeply loved by the one who is.”
– Glenn Packiam –