What's A River to God?

Has this ever happened to you? Where you’re minding your own business, not really expecting to be knocked over the head with a simple, yet profound nugget of truth that grips you and asks to take hostage of your mind until you understand it?

“What is a river to God?”

I still remember vividly how the pastor posed that question to the congregation: I sometimes watch sermons online and my mind wanders, as it usually does, catching good revelations here and there but once that question was voiced, it brought me back to the moment and I had to rewind just to hear it again.

“What is a river to God?”

The pastor taught from Joshua 3 where The Israelites, after forty years in the desert, were about to enter their Promised Land. But the Jordan River overflowed at that point of the year; it was impassable from where they stood.

So Joshua told the people, “Watch God do something amazing” and instructed the priests, who were carrying the Ark, to step into the rushing river.

However, the miracle of the Jordan River was nothing like that of the Red Sea. Whereas Moses raised his arm over the sea and, in an instant, it split in two, the priests had to get into the water and wait.

Everyone must have thought that something instantaneous was going to happen, like it happened a generation ago,  but once the priests stood in the middle, nothing like the Red Sea occurred.

No, God did a new thing that day. The second that the priests stepped into the Jordan, at “a great distance” the river backed up in a town named Adam and it eventually emptied out into the Dead Sea.

But it seemed like nothing changed at that moment. The Israelites couldn’t see about fifteen miles north from where they stood that their miracle, their way to cross over, was taking place. They just watched as the priests stood in a swollen river, no dry land in sight, and all they had was God’s promise that they will enter and inherit the Promised Land.

And thousands of years later, here I stand in front of my own Jordan River, wondering “What is a river to God?”

Right now, I’m living at my parents’ house. And yes, I know most twenty-somethings transition back home for a while to get back on their feet to pursue their careers they’ve been working towards most of their lives, but I had a plan, and in this plan I wasn’t supposed to be here. In tenth grade, I wrote my life out in an essay: I was going to be a very good doctor and married with kids at this age. But during senior year of college, I told my plans no, no I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore. Med school was no longer in the picture because at that time, my heart did a complete one-eighty and returned to its first love: writing. I didn’t say it out loud at the time but I wanted to become a novelist.

So I did my research, picked out maybe seven grad schools for creative writing, got into one and crossed the country to pursue that degree. Now about seven months out, I have half a novel done and I’m in a job that challenges me but still life isn’t what I imagined it to be.

And the question “What is a river to God?” won’t leave me alone.

Has it ever happened to you? Where you take inventory of your life and compare it to the blueprint you started with and realized you are nowhere you thought you would be at this stage of your life? Instead you notice the false starts and dead-ends and winded roads that took you way off course and you begin to wonder where God figures into this madness masquerading as your life.

The Israelites probably felt the same. They faced a similar situation forty years ago and everyone knew how it turned out: body of water splits down the middle and they cross. They commemorated the moment for forty years. Their parents boasted about God rescuing them from the Egyptians. They knew what was going to happen but when it didn’t, I wonder if they got worried and asked, “What is a river to God?”

I don’t know what river you’re facing while reading this but whatever seems insurmountable, confusing or unfamiliar right now in your life, you’re probably wondering the same thing: what is this to God that He won’t do something about it?

Let’s try to answer the question together.

Now this God who seems slow to reveal His plans or slow in moving is the same God who created everything from nothing. He hovered over the brink of creation in all its chaos and spoke all that we can see into existence. He placed the sun, the stars and the moon carefully into the sky and made sure that they always went where they needed to go. He chose the border between the land and the sea and the sky. He has a fleet of angels at His control. He didn’t get off His throne to deal with Lucifer and his band of bad angels. The second his heart turned against Him, he was thrown out of heaven. God is the same God who said, “Abraham, I will make you the father of nations,” and did it, although Abraham was old and Sarah’s womb was out of commission. With a shout, the walls of Jericho fell at the Israelites’ feet. In a second, He lit up the soaked offering that Elijah made in front of Israel who turned away from Him to follow Baal. He walked with Daniel’s friends in the inferno. He shut lions’ mouths. He cleansed lepers and made the lame walk. He brought people back to life.

What is a river to God? What is the job you’re waiting for to God? What is bringing in your future spouse to God? What is your bank account to God? What is everything that worries you to God?


He’s not stressing out that you aren’t where you thought you would be. He’s not worried about bringing you and your future spouse together. He’s not losing sleep over your finances or your career. Those things are nothing to Him. He can handle all that.

The correct question to ask is “What are you to God?”

And the answer is everything. You are worth His only Son to die on a cross for your sins. You are worth the throne and all of heaven He left in order to meet you where you are.

A river is nothing. But you are everything to Him.

That’s why in Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus said that God knows what you need and it’s not too hard for Him to clothe you and feed you and provide for you. He takes care of the lilies and the birds of the sky, of course He knows how to take care of His most prized possessions, the only ones in all of creation who bear His image.

No, His focus will never be on the stuff that worries us. His focus is on us and His relationship with Him.

Have you noticed that the enemy likes to give us stuff to distract us from God? The enemy is not after our stuff: a relationship with God is what the enemy aims to steal, kill and destroy. The only time he comes after our stuff is when we won’t budge from God, when we won’t give up God as our number one priority.

God is not worried about our stuff. He creates everything from nothing. Whatever is weighing you down can change in an instant with His word. And if it doesn’t, remember that about fifteen miles up north God is working something for your good that you haven’t noticed yet.

None of that which worries us is a concern to God. His main focus is our relationship with Him. Everything else will be added. We don’t have to work overtime for them, chase them, scheme for them. They will be added at the right time.

So as I sit here in a room I’ve grown up in, I remember God’s faithfulness. I remember His promises and His confirmation. I remember the way He’s helped me when I was unaware, the way He’s kept me safe all this time. I remember how I’ve grown during all this and although I may not be where I thought I would be, where others figured I would be, I’m exactly where He wants me: with Him.

Stop looking at the river and wondering where God is. Hold on to what He’s done for you in the past and know that if He did it before, He will certainly do it again. Even if it looks different this time, God will do it. Let go of your cares and lean into Him. Don’t allow them to put a wedge between you and God because in the greater scheme of things, when you look back on your life, you’ll see that they are nothing compared to who God is in your life. Nothing.