Stepping Out in Faith With the Teachable Spirit

» Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in teachable spirit | 0 comments

Stepping Out in Faith With the Teachable Spirit

What did the children of God’s people think about their parents complaining that Moses had brought them out of Egypt to die?
What was going through their minds as they watched the desert transformed with water, quails, and manna?
When did their teachable spirit begin to doubt the adult version of the story and trust God?

Crossing Lake Merritt, Oakland in a paddle boat with Natalie and Ty Van Mechelen, July 2014.

Crossing Lake Merritt, Oakland in a paddle boat with Natalie and Ty Van Mechelen, July 2014.

Crossing the Red Sea took the extended arm of Moses with the staff in his hand, a mighty east wind to blow, and the power of God to separate the waters for the children of Israel to walk through on dry land. No one doubts this was a huge miracle, feat of power and strength, and definitively an act of God. Reaching the other side, the Israelites rejoiced, led by Miriam, singing songs, and praising the God of Israel for salvation from the Egyptians.

Standing in front a redwood tree that Amy Van Mechelen was able to drive her car through, July 2014.

Standing in front a redwood tree that Amy Van Mechelen was able to drive her car through, July 2014.

Three days later, they were complaining for lack of water; yet, God sustained them. Ten times while traversing the desert, the children of Israel were found wanting and failed God’s handpicked test of faith. In each case, they showed their lack of faith in God’s ability to support them in this new environment. Thinking they were responsible for their existence, the children of Israel thought themselves incapable, and thus continued to think each “miracle” was an anomaly. They could not imagine God would continue to rescue them, even in the face of repeated miracles.

During this process, something was happening to the teachable spirit of their children. Recognizing that in each case, God provided for them, they became accustomed to a way of life where God’s sustaining grace was integral to their survival. The words of their parents did not match the actions of God as they saw Him engaging with their environment.

Was this God’s plan all along?

Amy's car waiting for the opportunity to drive through the redwood tree, July 2014.

Amy’s car waiting for the opportunity to drive through the redwood tree, July 2014.

Certainly for me, I have experienced the disparity between God’s Word and the “reality” of my physical existence. Flying in the face of all common sense, I have felt Him sustaining me; and, over time, have grown accustomed, come to anticipate, and expect His interference. Starting years ago with the question, “Why?” I began tearing down thought processes that did not match with scripture. Albeit a lengthy process similar to the forty years of the Israelites wandering in the desert, I came to a place of trusting God daily, just as the children of Israel eventually came to the Promise Land.

Crossing the Jordan yielded an entirely different scenario from their parents’ generation of crossing the Red Sea forty years earlier. Carrying the ark of God, the priests simply put their foot into the Jordan river.

No heroics & No fanfare

Just stepping out in faith.

Stepping into the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Shores, Washington, April 2013.

Stepping into the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Shores, Washington, April 2013.

And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap. So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. –Joshua 3:13-17

Looking at the next generation: Ty (Tiberius) Van Mechelen at Lake Merritt, July 2014.

Looking at the next generation: Ty (Tiberius) Van Mechelen at Lake Merritt, July 2014.

Comparing the difference between one generation and the next, we see that in the first case, the focus was on:

  • visual evidence and physical discomfort
  • despair at the situation
  • someone else making the miracle happen

Looking at the second generation, what happened was:

  • simple obedience through faith
  • calmness and serenity
  • participation in the solution through action

Seeing the evidence of God’s provision and witnessing daily miracles became woven into the fabric of their lifestyle. There was no doubt in their teachable spirit that if they simply obeyed God, all would be well. They had no reason to believe otherwise because they had come to trust God intuitively, which is part of a relationship with God.

My children, Amy and Isaac Van Mechelen, with  my grandson, Ty in Mt. Rainier National Park, June 2014.

My children, Amy and Isaac Van Mechelen, with my grandson, Ty in Mt. Rainier National Park, June 2014.

I think this is what happens to the teachable spirit. Questioning the adult version of the story, you cannot help noticing that just obeying God and stepping out in faith leads to peace. Situations resolve themselves without ever having to be engaged or involved in the process. The waters open up when you put your foot into the Jordan. Furthermore, you expect the waters to part because God said they would. Entering into a sense of freedom, the teachable spirit recognizes that just as the desert blossomed with water, quails, and manna, situations will become very interesting as God transforms the landscape of your life.

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