Lately I’ve been thinking about the Hillsong United song, “Oceans.” It’s a very popular song; I have heard it in at least two services of late. The song is circulated over and over again on the internet, especially in memes where lines of it are placed on ocean-themed backgrounds. It’s a pretty song, calming and quiet, and very popular. When it starts to play, the emotional responses build as people cry…for exactly what reason? Is it because the song is pretty? Is it because it reminds us of days gone by, of things we want to do, or is it conviction? Is it an emotional response or is it a spiritual one?
God keeps bringing to my attention the line in the song, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me.” All of a sudden, I realized that people are singing that line and have no idea what they are asking.
Some of you know we are looking for a building for Sanctuary. Yes, we already have the word on the property God promised, but we also know it is time to get started and God has appointed us to get moving on the project by finding a temporary location so we can offer services, classes, and outreach for the community. We’ve been looking on and off for a couple of months, hitting up different parts of Durham first, and now Raleigh. Our most recent (and overwhelmingly best) lead wound up not working out. As a result, I have started doing virtual tours, thanks to Google Maps, of downtown Raleigh to see where available buildings may be, so I can inquire about them. In the process, I have learned how the city is laid out and where all the common “boundaries” can be found. For example, northeast Raleigh is considered the ritzy area, downtown Raleigh is considered the tourist area, and southeast Raleigh is almost universally, by reputation and association, considered to be the “low-income” area. It astonished me to learn that, as I did various internet searches, to listen to the ways in which parts of Raleigh were classified by race and to discover that on the same street, the street may still be divided across these traditional southern lines.
I think what was even more awakening to me was the fact that most of the ministry work I have done in Raleigh is across the lines or borders that I am not, according to popular society, supposed to cross…and I never thought anything more about it. When I went into ministry, I wanted to make a difference, be known for something, and cross traditional boundaries. I just had no idea the way God would do it.
I never thought I’d see the day when half of the internet would believe they were “called to the nations.” Every time I scroll down my feed, I see at least two references to people pronouncing themselves “called to the nations.” They can’t expound on which nations it is they are called to, or what they were going to do when they get to “the nations,” or how they are working on communicating with people once they get to “the nations” since they can barely speak English, but they insist they are called…elsewhere. Yet these are the same people who can’t even walk across the street and help someone there…or walk down their street and reach out to someone in need…or drive themselves across town and visit a different church. These are the same people who have seen nothing but the inside of a pulpit for years and can’t even relate to the needs people have on a large scale, that there is a hurting world out there that needs Jesus, and that ministry is more than cushy preaching.
When we ask the Spirit to lead us to a place where our trust is without borders, that means that we are asking the Spirit to take us beyond what is comfortable for us. We are asking to cross the lines that society, our churches, our denominations, our families, and our own minds have established. We are asking that our call may take us wherever God wills it to go, wherever we are led. Walking upon the waters is about more than just literally walking on water – it is believing that, no matter where God calls you, He will take you there, and carry you back.
Being “called to the nations” sounds awesome, but that call to walk on water wherever He calls starts in a different way. Nobody is impressed with how far and how aggrandized you see your call. You want to see people impressed? Cross borders wherever you are. Go across the street, go next door, go down or up the street, go across your city, go across the country, go visit someone somewhere else. Prove that you aren’t afraid to cross the borders created by men. If you can’t go across town, there is no way you can go cross “borders” somewhere else. After all, the “nations” are all divided by borders that you can’t be afraid to cross because some man put them there.
Lord, let it be my prayer that my trust may be without borders…and that I will walk wherever You call me…in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
(c) 2014 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.