Life here is often stormy. We stand on Jordan’s banks, and unexpected winds threaten what began as a sunny day. Dark clouds suddenly appear and life’s torrential downpours burst forth. Our fear swirls like rushing water around our feet.
Here on Jordan’s shore — living your life in the time between Christ’s death for you and Christ’s return for you — you cast your heart’s wishful eye toward Canaan’s fair and happy land (Joshua 3-4). In Canaan, rushing fear will be no more. And in the true Canaan of heaven, persecution, sadness, and death will no longer exist.
Here though, in the time between, don’t be surprised when winds threaten and fears rise. Don’t be blindsided when fiery trials come upon you: “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world” (I Peter 4:12-13). There is purpose in each trial!
Don’t give up or give in! Finish your race with gladness! You are bound for the promised land: Fix your eyes, therefore, not on the swirling water, but on your Leader ahead (Heb. 12:2). You will reach that happy place; you will see your Father’s face (James 1:12). And when you do, you’ll bow with joy. You’ll fully and finally realize that each moment of swirling, yet always purposeful, trial worked for the glory of Jesus in and through your life.
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.
O’er all those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.
No chilling winds or poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.
When I shall reach that happy place,
I’ll be forever blest,
For I shall see my Father’s face,
And in His bosom rest.
I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land.
Click here to listen to Indelible Grace Music’s live rendition of this beautiful, old hymn.
Painting: The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan, by Gustave Dore, 1883
Hymn: On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand, by Samuel Stennett, 1787