Swept Away

Swept Away

Swept Away

What’s the difference between being “swept up” in something and being “swept away” by something? It’s a minute change of words, but a clear difference in meaning. Google will tell you that being swept up means: to be carried by the momentum of something bigger than yourself. Some experience this feeling in different modes of entertainment.  Perhaps an emotional performance, an inspiring movie, or even a moving piece of music swept you up in a moment of intense meaning. We can feel this way when we “fall in love” or get excited about new ideas or times of life. Many have found themselves supporting causes and promoting ideologies simply because they got swept up in the moment of inspiration and leadership. Inevitably when these moments of being swept up come, they are always followed with a return to reality or the former state of emotion or rational.

On the other hand, the act of being “swept away” can carry with it a much more permanent meaning. Yes, you can be “swept away” by an emotion or experience much like the former phrase – but this phrase can also mean something else. When storms roll in trees, cars, and even homes can become swept away by its power. Ships out at sea that encounter powerful storms get swept away and carried off course. To be swept away by a storm or some force of nature is considerably different than being swept up by an emotion or experience. In light of understanding and noting the difference between these two phrases, which one more characterizes your spiritual life? Is your walk with God characterized by moments of intense emotion or meaning; times where you get swept up in the experience or moment? You come to worship are moved by the singing, interactions, or a sermon and you get swept up in the spirituality of the experience – but then by afternoon you’ve come down from it all. I see this with students all the time in the BYG. Student’s spiritual lives can become dependent on retreats and youth rallies and big events over the Summer. They have these moments where they feel lifted and passionately close to God, but then return to reality after the moment or weekend closes. This cycle can repeat itself throughout the year leaving students with an overall weak walk with God.

I think of the children of Israel as they first leave Egypt. They’ve been witnessing the power of God for months at this point and they’re completely ready to follow Him out to the wilderness. However, as soon as reality (the Red Sea) hits them, they instantly turn on Moses and God and wish to return. Exodus 14:10-11, “As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?” This nation simply got swept up in the power of the moment and the emotion of freedom that God was demonstrating to them back in Egypt. What would it have been like for Israel that day if they had truly been swept away by the power of God? If they had been moved from their position in life and not just temporarily, but permanently been altered by encountering the power of God.

Therefore, I believe the next time God demonstrates His power to them, it’s a demonstration of outright supremacy and authority. In Exodus 20:16-17 we find God doing this, “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.” God is trying to sweep them away from their doubt, fear, or hesitancy in putting their trust in Him. What would 2022 look like if you were to truly be swept away with the power of God? If you didn’t just get swept up in moments from time to time, but your place in life was genuinely altered by His presence in your life. What will it be for your walk for God today, tomorrow, and whatever lies ahead of us in the future – will you be swept up or swept away by His power and presence?