I saw a lazy river in the middle of the African desert. Let me tell you how it got there.
My brother and his family are missionaries in Africa. This call came many years before they actually set foot in Mombasa, Kenya, where they now reside. The process of uprooting a family from western culture is a tediously lengthy one. We don’t realize how truly blessed we are until we have to sell every single thing we own.
My sister-in-law had to not only let go of the comforts that we take for granted, she had to let go of family and personal items that held memories and sentimentality. Necessity sometimes usurps nostalgia, especially when serving people in desperate need of basic things like food and water. God was sending my brother and his family to the marginalized, so they needed to “get to the margins” and let go all they held dear.
During their first year in Africa, God gave me a dream of my brother’s family and their missionary work. In my dream, I was walking into a dry valley where women were herding goats. The air was hot, and I could see the hazy yellow of sand sweeping through the atmosphere. I knew that I was in Africa and about to see my brother’s work. I decided to walk up to the rim of the valley and take a look around. What I saw from top completely surprised me.
My brother had built a lazy river in the middle of the desert. I saw smiling faces of young African kids grabbing inner-tubes and jumping into the flow of the river. They laughed and played, and I couldn’t understand how my brother had gotten so much water in the middle of the arid wilderness. But there is was – a huge lazy river – overflowing with clean, cool water.
I woke up. All I could remember was seeing an abundance of water in the middle of the desert. If there was water to play in, there had to be more than enough to drink. Although in the natural, a lazy river in the wilderness seems impossible, God can produce greater than what we could ever think or imagine, as we follow Him to the margins (Ephesians 3.20). That lazy river represents God’s abundance in the droughts of this world, and all it takes is one step of obedience to accomplish the impossibleGod does the miraculous in the margins. Click To Tweet
* Abraham birthed a nation in the margins.
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11.8 NIV).
* David learned to have a heart for God in the margins.
“David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands” (1 Samuel 23.14 NIV).
* The Messiah, Jesus Christ, began His ministry in the margins.
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip” (John 1.46 NIV).
* John the Baptist preached to crowds in the margins
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea” (Matthew 3.1 NIV).
* Jesus fed the 5,000 with a boy’s small lunch in the margins.
“By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat” (Mark 6.35 NIV).
The extraordinary almost always happens in the margins, as we trust and obey God even into the desert places. We must never wait to obey God’s call until we feel confident and secure. We can take those steps of faith when we truly do not know what will happen, faithfully relying on God’s provision and strength. A lazy river of God’s abundance is waiting to be unearthed in the wilderness. Let us get to the margins and watch God do the impossible.
“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs” (Isaiah 41.18 NIV).
God, I want to “get to the margins” of myself and my destiny, so I can rely on You and Your miraculous power in my life. I want to live on the edge of my comfort zone for You, trusting that You will provide abundantly. I know that you can make a spring in the wilderness, and You can make a way where there is no way. Help me to let go of the reins and faithfully follow You into the unknown.
This week I will open my mind to the paths I have been missing because they seem too implausible. I will let go of control and take steps of faith that scare me. I declare today that I trust God’s move in my life—even as I follow Him into the margins. Show me, Father, where you are sending me and guide my feet each step of the way.
Alisa Hope Wagner is aggressive about leading a simple life. She enjoys working out, reading, and communicating God’s love and truth. She married her high school sweetheart, and together they raise their three children in a Christ-centered home. Though an introvert by nature, Alisa easily expresses herself through social media.