I allowed my husband, Mark, to talk me into climbing a water fall as a part of our vacation “fun”. You have to know me to understand why fun is in quotation marks. It will take too long to explain, so, just use your imagination. Mark and I along with some other friendly, but unknown faces, filed onto a bus and headed off to our adventure. Once we arrived, we were divided into groups of 10-12 people and instructed that successful climbing of the Falls required our holding the hands of the strangers around us and not letting go unless told to do so. “Uh, oh!” Our guide, Donald, promised that we would be safe if all instructions were followed. “Don’t let go of your neighbors’ hands unless I ask you to,” was his final directive.
After stepping into and adjusting to the chilly water of Dunn’s River Falls, we set off on our journey to the top yelling, “Up, up, up; all de way; up, up, up!” On several occasions there were slips and missteps because someone treaded into places and spaces beyond where our guide stepped. However, our locked-hand chain would tighten and provide support whenever that happened. Each time a misstep took place, we were reminded that the rock beneath our feet was strong, steady, and unmovable, but we had to use its strength to our advantage by following the guide. It was during one of those times, while standing lock-handed in a river, supported by people I did not know, that God spoke.
My heart quickened a little as I looked up the Falls just in time to see the rush of the river’s water hastening its pace as it hurried toward me. Isaiah 43:2 flooded my soul and comforted my heart… “When you pass through the waters, I’ll be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you…” Even though my fears were quelled immediately, I knew that my seeing the shift in water flow was not happenstance, trouble was coming. I had no clue as to what form it would take; all I knew for sure was that it would be plentiful and appear as rushing with the threat of sweeping over me. Thankfully, God’s choice of scripture text was assurance that whatever was on the way would not over take me.
It was 4 days later when God’s warning became a reality. I awoke to the news of the shooting death of Philando Castile, which marked two African American men dying at the hands of law enforcement officers, in as many days. I began writing a post, but before I could finish putting my thoughts into words, the next day brought the troubled waters of 5 police officers being killed along with the injuring of nine civilians at the hands of a rogue gunmen in Dallas, TX. The waters of trouble were rushing!
While crying out in prayer, God reminded me of the moment in the waterfall; the waters rushed at my group, but we all made it safely to the top by standing together and reminding one another to only step where the guide stepped. We reminded one another of the guide’s skillful knowledge and of his being equipped to safely see us through to the top. “Up, up, up; all de way; up, up, up!”
My brothers and my sisters, I want to remind you as we stand on The Rock, Jesus Christ, in this time of trouble our Guide, the Holy Spirit, is able to see us through! We have to do our part by locking arms with unknown faces, reminding them that there is a place of safety where troubled waters cannot prevail. Don’t let go of your neighbors’ hand unless instructed to do so by The Guide.