Harriett Tubman is known for leading escaped slaves North to freedom. In a way Ms. Tubman was the “Moses of the slaves.” She was the Conductor of the Underground Railroad, a network of stops and operators that led many slaves to freedom. One of the songs of the Underground Railroad was the traditional black American Spiritual “Wade in the Water”. The words of this song are:
Wade in the water,
Wade in the water, children.
Wade in the water,
God’s gonna trouble the water.
We can imagine slave lives were lives of great tribulation and oppression. So how then is Ms. Tubman and this song a message of faith? Well, she used the foundation of faith and spiritual strength to help slaves who had already endured great trials to stay strong in faith and hope. Scripture speaks to trials and how we should live with them in this way. Romans 5:3 says, “And not only that, but we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope”. Now this reference–and not only that–is a reference to our faith. Real faith will be tried over and over again until we are perfected in faith. But faith alone is not sufficient to help us live abundant lives while here on earth.
Imagine that slaves woke up every day as slaves. They worked every day as slaves, and then they went to bed slaves. They may have spent their entire lives in chains as slaves. Faith alone wasn’t going to help them live abundantly as slaves; they needed more. And like them, we need more today. “Wade In The Water” was Tubman’s way of inspiring slaves to always be ready and willing in faith, to know the part they had to play, and to never give up doing their part as they waited on the Lord to do His part. Your faith must make you willing to wade deeper into the waters of your unknown, knowing that God will carry you through. When God troubles the water, it is His way to provide for your freedom, your healing, your relationships, and even your salvation. You cannot play it safe with faith. Faith must take you into the deep waters of your needs, beyond your ability to satisfy yourself on your own.
Tribulations are simply trying experiences. They will test us to see if we have the presence of the Spirit of perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to endure without being overcome. It is the ability to draw strength from a source other than yourself when you are emptied of all that you are. Perseverance produces character. Character is the presence and refinement of the moral, emotional, and mental traits that keep us true in our reflection of the image of God. Character produces hope. Hope is the confident expectation that something positive can and will happen for us as we wait faithfully for God to trouble the waters surrounding the things that give us trouble. And even if that hope is delayed, we are not overcome but strengthened through our hope as we endure.
So then, no matter what you are facing today–no matter your circumstances–stand strong in faith where you are. Let your perseverance and character and hope be perfected enough so that you will wade into the waters while you await God’s presence and His promise to never leave nor forsake you. When God brings trouble to the things that trouble you, He brings healing, He brings freedom, and He brings relief. So go on! Wade into the waters of your tribulations and demonstrate the strength of your spiritual perseverance, character and hope as you faithfully wait for God to trouble your troubles. Live a Delivered Life. Love you.