How Are You Doing in the Thicket of the Jordan?

How Are You Doing in the Thicket of the Jordan?

by Cathee Poulsen

“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5

This Bible verse has long intrigued me. The phrase “the thicket of the Jordan” has a poetic cadence that draws me in. But what does it mean?

When the River Rises

Most of the time the River Jordan is shallow enough for you to cross on foot. But during the spring rains, the river rises to flood stage and is not accessible.

When God called the Children of Israel to cross over into their land of promise, the river was at that impenetrable stage. For that reason, the priests were reluctant to put their toes in the water with the Ark of the Covenant. But it wasn’t until they stepped out on God’s Word that the water parted and they crossed over on dry ground. Hallelujah! We love that story.

In these days of America in crisis, chaos all around, the water rising and uncertainty our new normal, the message hidden in these words brings to light a question God is asking each of us.

If you are becoming weary with this race you’ve been called to over the last four months, how will you hold up if things around you worsen? In the thicket of the Jordan? As our pastor asked a few weeks back, “When Jesus returns will he find faith in us?”

Or maybe this: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength (faith) is small.” Proverbs 24:10. Other translations say “if you faint under pressure,” “if you fall to pieces in a crisis.”

What If It Get’s Worse?

Because the truth is, things are likely to worsen as darkness deepens. (See Isaiah 60:2). But here’s the Good News — and Yes, it’s part of the Gospel — the Kingdom of God is advancing right in the middle of all this unrest.

Remember David and what he had to endure before he was crowned king? Remember Esther who put her life on the line in order to expose darkness and stand for the truth? She gave us two great statements to claim for ourselves:

“If I perish, I perish. If this costs me my life, if this is the valley of the shadow, I will not be afraid.”

“Maybe I’ve come into the kingdom for such a time as this!”

If we believe God’s Word to us, if we do not live by Publix baguettes alone, but by every word that comes out of God’s mouth, then we walk through this resting in Who he is and what he is doing.

“I’m working all these things together for your good, if you love me and are called.” Right?

And in addition, we understand that God ordained before the foundation of the world that we would be alive right now, in the crisis of Covid-19 and civil unrest.

The Upside Down Kingdom

When have God’s ways ever been logical? In order to receive, we’re told to give. We’re asked to love our enemies. For some, that means people in the opposite political party who you’ve actually, if you’re honest, wished dead. Yes, that person!

Jesus never criticized the government of his day. In fact, He said we were the obey what’s asked of us. The only time we have permission to go against the government is if we are asked to deny Christ or participate in ungodly acts.

His scathing remarks, the people he likened to rotting bodies in graves, were the religious people. Those who led others astray and placed huge burdens upon them to obey traditions. Those people he separated from.

In order for Jesus to make all things new, the old has to pass away. Some of what we’re seeing right now is the crumbling of the false systems of this world. That’s a good thing.

Uncomfortable? Probably. But God has never been particularly concerned about our comfort.

Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Philosophy names these three aspects of life the transcendentals. Jesus is the embodiment of all three and when we abide in Him, all three are evident in our lives. Because “in Him we live and move and have our being.”

Because of this, in the very midst of this dark miasma, “you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” Philippians 2:15.

My rose garden

Sunrise on our lake

We not only find the beauty around us — the burning bushes we turn aside to investigate — we proclaim this truth. The King reigns and we will behold His beauty and display His goodness right here in this chaos. We shine.

It’s our greatest moment, friends. Don’t be afraid. He is here. Immanuel. God with us. Soldier on!



  1. Ellis F. Naegele

    Thank you for such a time as this!

  2. John R Calpini

    Thank you for this! It is so needed on our World at this time.

  3. I am floating down the river of God on a blowup raft drinking from a pineapple with a little umbrella stuck in it with a long straw sing Row Row your boat gently down the stream. Life is great in the kingdom no matter what river I am on.

  4. So beautifully said Cathee. Thank you!

  5. Jesus is the ultimate balm for a dark miasma. Great piece, Cat. May I always be found clinging to His garment.

  6. I am reading through Isaiah and things just stay the same. We take our focus off of God and HE doesn’t like that. We cannot do things on our own. Yes we are in chaos and HE will get us through. In the end, we win.
    Love you

  7. Lynne Jones Lawler

    Oh, Cathee, how these words resonated within our hearts today.
    Thank you for your unfailing obedience to His call on your life!
    Love and hugs from Alabama~

  8. G. Polly Jordan

    I always stop what I am doing to read your blogs and I am never disappointed. This is perfect for these times. Keep writing Cathee.

  9. Remember when your refrigerator prophesied to me about my “angry dark miasma’? Well it’s back. Thanks for the lifeline. We’re gonna be fine.

  10. Diane Ferguson

    We really do need to be reminded of these things. It is true. He sure is here!

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