The Swamp and the River

I find myself in an interesting season of life right now: caught in between having great vision for what God wants to accomplish in my life and also between placing restraints on myself and what I’m capable of doing. It seems easier to trust God during the vision and the unveiling of what God does, but struggle as I get deeper into the calling. Like a child with floaties stepping in the ocean for the first time, I am excited about the waves rolling against my toes. The water rushes over my ankles, pulls the sand out from underneath my feet, and I giggle with joy. But then as I go deeper, the waves knock me down and I become afraid of losing control and being incapable of getting back up to go to shore.

All of us encounter this to some degree. We enjoy the peace that comes from obeying God, but we also enjoy the control that comes from staying in our comfort zone. In Ezekiel, we see the difference that results from leaving our comfort zone to experience God’s freedom versus staying in our comfort zone to maintain our control. In Ezekiel 47, a man guides Ezekiel through a temple. Once his tour is done, the man brings Ezekiel back to the front of the temple where a stream flows from under the temple. The man leads Ezekiel through ankle-deep water for about 1/3 of a mile. They walk another 1/3 mile in knee-deep water. Another 1/3 mile, up to Ezekiel’s waist. Finally after 1 1/3 miles of walking, Ezekiel finds himself in the deepest part of the river where it was so deep that he had to swim to stay above water. At the end of the journey, the man shows Ezekiel the two possibilities of the river: the flowing stream and the stagnant swamp.

Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live… But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Ezekiel 47:9-11

However, the biggest of revelation is this: while the swamps will not be fresh, trees will grow on the banks of BOTH areas. BOTH the swamp and the river will have trees that don’t have withering leaves and will have fruit that will satisfy hunger. Likewise, we can live in our comfort zone, have the fruit of being in God’s presence but never be thriving and constantly growing. We ultimately limit ourselves to the degree we pursue God and follow where He calls us.

Too many of us are like toads, living on both the water and the land in the swamp. But God has called us to thrive in the streams, to release our expectations and control in order to experience His presence like never before. Are you staying stagnant in the swamp? Or are you witnessing the abundance in the stream?

I have come to this place in my life

I’m full but I’ve not satisfied

This longing to have more of You

I can feel it my heart is convinced

I’m thirsty, my soul can’t be quenched

You already know this but still

Come and do whatever You want to

– In Over My Head (Crash Over Me) // Bethel Music

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