If there’s one word that’s tossed around in Christian circles, like glitter at a 7-year-old’s Unicorn-themed birthday party, it’s the term, “breakthrough.”
We pray for it. We believe it’s coming. We ask others to intercede on our behalf for it.
Tele-evangelists in shiny suits promise breakthroughs -- if only you send across a "small" donation. Books and blogs and Bible plans bandy the word about like an eager child with a new light-sabre and too much energy.
And while I probably sound cautious about the term, I love me a good breakthrough.
God has sprinkled those stunning moments of undeserved grace at the most unexpected times in my life. I’ve experienced dramatic Red Sea moments where all I could do was stare awestruck at what was happening because I did not, even in the remotest sense, earn the blessing.
But as much as those breakthroughs in my life were unexpected, Scripture reveals that, oftentimes, breakthroughs are preceded by plain old run-of-the-mill obedience.
Consider the Israelites backpacking through the desert for 40 years because they were too stubborn and too fearful of man to trust God and take possession of the Promised Land. God let them wander along a route that seemed to have been drawn by a 3-year-old tracing the alphabet for the first time.
Even as you and I long for our breakthroughs, is God taking us down from circuitous paths so we learn to trust and obey Him through the journey?
Do we let God break through those wilful and obstinate places in our lives so we’re ready for the breakthrough He has planned?
After 40 years of meandering, the Israelites finally arrive at the breakthrough moment. A whole nation stands on the banks of the Jordan River prepared to cross over to the Promised Land.
You may remember the story from the book of Joshua, chapters 3 and 4. It’s harvest season which means the river is in flood stage. God instructs the Levite priests to carry the ark -- and step into this not-exactly-tame river.
I know those priests must have been spiritual heavyweights – but these were perfect conditions for white-water rafting, not wading. And, as I understand, the priests were not exactly outfitted with safety gear and life vests from the nearest Decathlon.
But the priests put their faith in a God who hadn’t failed them – and step into the gushing river.
The waters separate. And three million people walk down about three kilometres of a dry river bed which moments before was brimming over.
Even as you pray for your breakthrough, does God require you to step into the water in faith?
Do we let God break through those fearful places in our lives so we can experience the breakthrough He has planned?
What happens next in the story? Well, the priests could have waited for the slowest folk (you know, the ones who may have had too much manna and too few Zumba lessons) to mosey up to the bank and then called it a day. After all, their job was done and dusted when the last guy crossed over. Or was it?
Joshua 4 points out that the priests stayed on the dry river bed – for a while longer. God instructs Joshua to send one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the river bed and create an altar of worship while the priests continue holding the ark.
Breakthroughs are incomplete until we give God the glory He deserves.
Often, we seize the victory – and just as quickly go back to asking for the next breakthrough. But is God is teaching us to stay on the river bed for a moment longer?
Do we let God break through our indifference and ingratitude so we can grasp the purpose of the breakthrough He has planned?
Let’s not brush past our breakthroughs. Let your breakthrough become a place of worship and an altar of praise.
And as we worship, may we grasp that the biggest breakthroughs often take place within our hearts. God breaks through our stubbornness, our fearfulness, and our thanklessness to ready us for the breakthroughs He has prepared.
Photo by Kristine Weilert on Unsplash
Wow, this is so true... We sometimes brush past our breakthroughs and don't give Him the glory.. Very well conveyed, Susan !
Thanks, Shika! I love that image of the priests standing on the river bed till the stones for the altar were gathered. Time to pause and give thanks. Take care, Susan
loved this read, Susan! Thanks.
Thanks so much, Neetha!