FAITH WALK: Through the Puddles
Finding a Way Through COVID-19
By Jenny Baxter
This year, 2020, has held surprises for all of us.
I was a little ahead of the curve, slowing down to a stop back in January, when I suddenly burnt out. Even now in October, I am recovering from decades of overwork, and "pushing through" habits. It's caused me to stop and reflect on so many memories growing up. I've begun to understand what makes me tick, and be grateful for the many coping strategies I am now either putting to rest, or affirming.
Just this week, I've remembered something my Dad taught my sisters and me.
On our occasional weekends away, we'd sometimes hike along wet and muddy bush tracks, and he'd explain how to navigate the puddles we came across every so often.
"Usually, the best way to tackle a puddle is right through the middle," he'd say. "People generally don't tread there, and the bottom is not as soft as the mud around the edges."
I remember trying it, disbelieving him. And to my surprise, more often than not, the ground was firm. Rocky even.
As I reflected on his practical wisdom this week, I've realised Dad's words are such an allegory for the Christian life. Because so often we choose to avoid the "muddy puddles" of life, and instead, walk gingerly in the treacherous mud alongside them.
And likewise, it is so easy to choose the path that everyone else takes during this unusual year, instead of the one Jesus wants me to take - through the water. I remembered I can confidently take a step of faith into the murky water, and discover there is rock there, just beneath the surface. Jesus' strength supports me in the middle of the mess. He is used to mess. He knows I need his loving embrace.
All he does is ask me to come to him. To take a step into the great unknown. It's very different to what others do!
And now I live, trusting he has me safely in his care, even during this pandemic year.
Faith and Confidence
It's like the writer to the Hebrews noted that faith is about being confident in what we DON'T see.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
So, my encouragement to you today is to follow me and take the leap of faith! Step into your muddy puddle! It's still messy. But as you step, Jesus will hold you up. And it's so much better than falling in a heap in your own slippery wisdom and failings.
Jenny Baxter is the State Director for Tasmanian Baptist Women. She has five grown up kids (three of them in Melbourne!) and attends Hobart Baptist Church with her husband, Stephen. She walks on the beach most days, and is learning to take it slowly. At last.