The river of God is still flowing. There is far more life, activity, growth and depth to the river than we could have ever known had we not come close. Had we not chosen to get our feet wet. But we are in it now. And we are up to our waist.
Back in Ezekiel 47 again, the man leading the prophet into the river continues to invite him deeper. This time, there is no chance of keeping his feet on the ground and wading across. In the final stage of entering God’s river, Ezekiel describes that, ‘the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in’. There’s no other option now if he is to move deeper, it’s time to swim.
Ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep, swim.
Our journey of praying and preparing for student mission is deep now. Deeper even than our waist-high prayers for sharing Jesus with new people and getting outside our current comfort zones. Into the deep of the river of God means it’s time to take our feet off the ground of what we already know about student mission, and try swimming into acts of radical prayer, faith, experimentation and outrageous love. Sometimes we need to swim into new ways of living to see new life.
Swimming in God’s river might look like prayer-walking the campus, your student streets, your night club strips, asking God for prophetic visions of where his river is flowing and how we might jump in. It might mean praying for and knocking on the doors of the student’s union, the chaplaincy, the university faculties and the administration. It might be time to pray for your chancellors and provosts, the leaders of whole institutions, where the life of God might not have channels to flow through yet.
Swimming in God’s river might look like radical unity across churches for the sake of mission. Sharing of ideas, people, money, resources. What if everyone risked taking their feet off their personal ground of ‘what has been’ in order to swim out into the shared waters of ‘what could be’ together? This kind of kingdom swimming is not splashing about in the shallows. It’s exhilarating, scary, faith-filled and experimental. And it’s needed if we are to reach and share life with the multitudes out in the depths of culture and campus and the world.
In Ezekiel 47 the river vision ends with speaking of the fish of many kinds and the trees of many kinds that all live in and around the river of life. Swimming with all of who we are into God’s river is the place where we begin to look and live like the true kingdom of God’s people. Many kinds of students can find hope in Jesus and home in the church, from all backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures and contexts. In the river there is a place for them to find life. There is a place for us all to find life.
So are you ready to swim?
See you online at the Fusion Conference 2020.
Thank you that being out of our depth is a place of safety and faith when we are led by your hand.
Give us the vision and courage to be people who risk swimming into new and deeper waters for the sake of following you and experiencing more of your life.
Jesus, thank you that you will teach us how to swim and that you know the way. You know all students by name and you know where to find.
Holy Spirit, fill us with your wisdom and compassion to swim into new places and swim with new people that we might become good news and share good news as we go.
Lead into the deep God, ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep, swim.
Missed our other devotional? Read it here.