Sunday, March 27, 2011

Getting Your Feet Wet

 by Barbara Early

I did something this week which required considerable faith. Something that, considering the circumstances, didn’t make a lot of sense: I planted seeds.

Now, I’m not talking about metaphorical seeds, such as seeds of kindness, seeds of change, or seeds of opportunity. I’m talking about literal seeds. In particular, strawberries, a few varieties of lettuce, and several types of peppers.

Now opening the little paper envelopes and burying seeds under the soil in the starter kit wasn’t very difficult. Neither was watering them or placing them in a sunny area of my living room. Yet it was an act of sheer faith. The reason? While I am writing this, temperatures are sinking into the teens, and my backyard is covered with a fresh coat of snow. And if the mercury doesn’t climb considerably before the seedlings get too big, I’m going to look a little foolish. I mean, what if spring never comes?

Even though sometimes it feels like winter weather will last forever, warmth is surely coming. I didn’t have to talk myself into it, or hype myself up. Now, I guess I could be assured that spring is coming simply because it arrives every year, but there is an even better reason: God promised.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

In fact scripture is filled with even more dramatic and exciting examples of people stepping out in faith, acting in opposition to circumstances, having only the promises of God to count on.

Noah built a boat long before it began raining, simply because God had told him it would. Joshua and the young nation of Israel marched around Jericho holding trumpets, probably looking a little sheepish after day three or four. Yet God’s direction and promise had been clear.

"The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan" by Gustave Dore (d. 1883)

One of my favorite stories of faith involves the crossing of the Jordan. The young nation of Israel had been wandering in the desert for forty years, led by Moses. Now under the leadership of Joshua, they needed to cross the Jordan River to finally get to their destination. Yet when they arrived, the rivers were flooded over their banks. God promised He would part the waters of Jordan when the feet of the priests carrying the ark touched the water. I can just imagine them walking toward the bank. If I were carrying the ark, I’m sure I’d be watching the surface of the river. And as we stepped closer and closer, I’d be looking for some kind of change—some sign the waters were receding. Yet the level didn’t go down. No currents on the surface indicated any change. It was only after they stepped into the water, that God parted the river and allowed them to walk through on dry land. They had to get their feet wet!

Scripture is filled with all kinds of wonderful promises. And those promises might be comforting to hear and ponder over, but they hold their most value when we step out—acting like we really believe them.

God has promised to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). So in the dark times, when I feel most alone and discouraged, I can trust that He is only a prayer away. I need not despair.

God has promised to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19). So when I have need of anything, I know He will not leave me helpless.

I don’t know how many promises there are in the Bible. One commentator said 365, another said there are thousands. I do know that God will never forget or fail to complete that which He has promised.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19

Simple question: Are you planting anything this year? Flowers or vegetables?

Harder question: Has God impressed on you the need to step out in faith in some area? To get your feet wet? Which scriptural promises are you relying on?

Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and facebook scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. She taught secondary English and science for several years in a Christian school before home schooling her daughter successfully through high school. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy, and was a double finalist in the 2010 ACFW Genesis competition. When not reading or writing, she enjoys cooking, crafts, home-improvement projects, and spending time with her husband and daughter.


  1. Sounds like those first Israelites at the River coined the phrase step out in faith.
    (the really annoying part of me is thinking...dry? how dry? wet but no river, dry like desert sand? did they find any old tires in the river? okay probably not.) I believe it. Great post, Barb!
    Glad to have you out of the shadows and into the SUNNY part of Inktropolis.

    Enjoy your seedlings. Have you considered a grow light? sunny windows never did it for me. And hey, strawberries by seeds is something I've never heard of. (if all else fails, try Miller Nurseries in Naples...NY that is) They ship!

  2. Thanks, Deb, for the welcome.

    Hmmm. I didn't consider the story as a possible origin for the phrase 'stepping out in faith,' but some do credit it as the source of the idiom 'getting your feet wet.' It's amazing how many of our expressions have a Biblical origin.

    I'm considering the grow light. I've never tried strawberries by seed either. But seeds are cheap, so I thought I'd try.

  3. Wonderful inaugural post, Barb! I hadn't considered before that they had to get their feet wet first. But I love the implication that when we have direction from the Lord we keep on moving until/unless he says to stop, no matter the obstacles in our way.

    We (and by "we" I mean my husband and kids) are planting a little herb garden in planters this week during their spring break.

  4. Hi Barb, great post. I'm a big believer in scriptural promises.

  5. Good morning, Barb. Welcome to the Inkwell. I love your post. I can just picture all of them (over a million?) Standing along the bank waiting for the water to recede, then taking those tentative first steps, then the joy (or wonder or relief) on their faces when God's promise is met.

    I love it!

  6. Lisa--Good point. Stepping out in faith is only the beginning. I like planting herbs too, but generally just a few in my windowsill where they are handy for cooking.

    Dina--Thanks. There are so many wonderful promises!

    Suzie--Thanks for the welcome! It's an amazing picture of faith, isn't it? I would have loved to have been privy to the thoughts of those men as they neared the water.

  7. Barb, beautiful post! Welcome!
    I bought my seeds and a little plastic box with peat pots yesterday. Gardening, like faith, is always an adventure. Will the seeds sprout? Will the sprouts be frostbit or devoured by local wildlife? Will I water them enough? Too much?
    We plant by faith, water by faith, but it is God who gives the increase.
    Sounds like your Buffalo weather is a lot like our Colorado weather... not necessarily hospitable to gardening!

  8. Thanks, Niki for the welcome.

    Buffalo winters can be tough, but Buffalo summers are gorgeous--both weeks of it.

    Just kidding--I think. And so true about God giving the increase.

    If my seeds don't sprout, I'll probably buy some seedlings from the local nursery. And if they don't take, I'll buy local vegetables. I like the gardening because it gets me working outside in the sunshine--and it should help my diet. (For some odd reason, it's really hard to grow things that are bad for you.)

  9. Wonderful inagural post, Barb! I really needed to read this today. Sometimes fear keeps me from stepping out in faith.

    I have planted a few seeds this year and am hoping for the best; generally, I don't do well with seeds. But I've planted sweet peas by a trellis (I love how they smell!) and herbs in some peat pots. I have 2 volunteer tomatoes this year... We'll see how everything does!

  10. Susanne, when I first read sweet peas, for some reason I was thinking of garden peas, and not the flower. I was contemplating the scent when it dawned on me!

    Thanks for the kind comment!


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