Recently I spent a few days in New York City. Having previously lived in Chicago, I smugly assumed I had the whole rush hour public transit situation completely under control.
That was, of course, until I found myself heading up a staircase out of the subway, completely against the flow of pedestrian traffic. I have never felt more like a fish trying to swim upstream. I had to carefully shoulder my way through the crowd to the top of the stairs and back to street level. Thankfully, other than my pride getting a little scuffed up, I didn’t sustain any injuries.
I’m still not sure if I made a mistake and went up the wrong stairwell or if I was just reverse-commuting across town at the wrong time of day. Either way, one thing is certain: I was definitely struggling to move against the predominant flow of everyone around me.
Moving against the flow is a difficult task. It takes faith to trust that you’re moving in the right direction, and it takes courage to sustain the course. I’m not so certain that my subway predicament was the result of a faithful or courageous spirit, but I am convinced that Rahab was able to stay the course because of her belief in the God of Israel and her courage to finish what she started.
Rahab risked much by harboring the spies. She risked her comforts and possessions, her life and the lives of her family. If any of the leaders in Jericho had learned of her actions, she most likely would have faced a punishment worse than death. To say that treason was frowned upon is putting it lightly.
But Rahab had heard of the great deeds of the LORD and she knew He was the only true God. To follow Him, to honor Him, and to trust Him was to risk much. She was swimming against the flow of what her neighbors and friends would have thought sensible and right. She knew that her national allegiances needed to take a back seat to what was fitting in the eyes of the only true God, but she had to risk everything to link arms with His people.
Have you ever had to make a hard or unpopular decision? Maybe it was amongst friends, or perhaps it was at work. Have you ever been challenged to move against the predominant way of thinking or acting? Maybe God is calling you to make a stand, take a risk, or love in a vulnerable way.
Following God doesn’t mean we spend our whole lives protesting culture. Sometimes, like Rahab, we just have to make quiet but resolute decisions to move in a different direction. Rahab didn’t start picketing Jericho. Rather, she bravely and faithfully followed God.
Not every season requires us to swim aggressively upstream, but some do. If this is one of those seasons, lean on God in faith. He will supply the courage and provision that you need. If you leap out in faith like Rahab did, you might just be surprised by the wonders He works through you.
Written By Andrew Stoddard