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What Is Separating me from the Promise?

This is the question Andy Wood asked us each to consider this morning at the end of his sermon and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Imagine the Jordan River on the eve of the Israelites crossing it into the Promised Land.  The river was at flood stage, so it was moving quickly (even the Red River here in Winnipeg moves quickly during flood season) but this particular stretch of the river near Jericho is narrower than the rest so that as the rushing flood waters reached the point where the people were waiting--all two million of them--it became even more turbulent.  Anyone who's witnessed a flood knows that it doesn't just carry water; there is debris like fallen trees, parts of sheds and houses and perhaps even animals unable to escape the river's grab.
Floods can be dangerous!

Back in the days of Abraham, God had promised the land of Canaan to him and his descendants but during the days of Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph, the whole family had moved out of the Promised Land to Egypt because of famine.  Now,  400 years later, all that separated them from The Promise was 100 feet of raging water.  What to do?

I'm sure many of them resorted to prayer--a very good and important, even crucial thing to do--but would prayer alone get them across?  According to Andy, we need to not only pray but act.  What action would have been called for?  Start building a bunch of rafts?  A bridge?  A dam?  No!  God told the priests to step into the water. (I can't help but start singing the Southern gospel song at this point--"Step into the water.  Wade out a little bit deeper.")

Say what?  Here in south-eastern Manitoba, when the rivers are flooding, we're all warned to stay away from the water.  The rivers are dangerous!  There are large fallen trees, parts of sheds and houses and sometimes animals caught by the river's grab and the police don't want any people joining the parade of flotsam by accidentally being swept away.  But the priests were not only to go to the edge of the water but to step into that swirling, rushing torrent.  Dangerous!  This is what kept them from the promise made by God centuries before--a raging river ,and all they had to do was step into the danger. Who wants to do that?

When Andy asked, "What is separating you from the promise God has given you," I knew my answer immediately.  My husband and I have been married nearly 41 years but most of that time has been very painful for me (you can read more about this here).  I prayed for years that God would heal our marriage but nothing seemed to change.  Then, eight years ago God spoke to me with a very specific promise: "I will heal your marriage."  For another two years nothing changed and then it did--slowly.  I'm still waiting for that promise from God to be kept.

So what's separating me from The Promise?  Fear.  I have spent 40 years building and strengthening walls of self-protection--hiding myself, my thoughts, my fears, nearly everything about myself that has meaning from the one I'm supposed to be most open with.  How can we have a fulfilling marriage when I've erected the walls of Jericho (so to speak) between me and my husband?  It's impossible.

This past spring, God told me I had to start taking them down; self-protection is a way of not trusting God to protect me and I want to be totally dependent on God.  I also want a fulfilling marriage and all the praying in the world isn't going to get me one if I'm not willing to do what I must do--step into the water, the perceived danger, my fears and and start sharing myself, one bit at a time.  I've already started to do this so Andy's sermon and challenge is a confirmation for me that I'm on the right track.  What was awesome was that during prayer time, two dear women came and prayed for me that I will have the courage to step out.

So, what's separating you from God's promise?

[For those of you who don't know how the story of the Israelites ends, the moment the priests' feet touched the water, the river parted and all two million people crossed on dry land.]

Once it's posted, you will be able to listen to Andy's sermon here.


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About the Author


I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

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Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …