I move gracefully toward a goal, feeling the freedom of flowing currents, knowing power over depth. My arms move effortlessly, without fatigue or pain. My legs are straight behind me giving me strength. My head stays above the flood; my eyes focus on destiny.
Such describes my dreams of rivers.
Yet, much irony lies in those dreams. In my real life, I cannot swim and have a deep respect for bodies of water. I do not like water in my eyes or ears. And two near-drowning incidents have left their marks on my mind.
Still, I love rivers. Particularly those mountain streams that move with life and air and sky and wind.
I easily remember special places where such rivers live. There is an old country store with a grist mill in the North Georgia mountains, and behind that store is a wooden walkway where one can watch the turning of the wheel and trout swim in the currents. The rushing waters cascade with perfect harmony. Their music echos in my soul. It is a God-created tonic. I have stood there several times drinking its peace.
Yet, greater still is drinking in the peace of another river. It is that "river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells" (Psalm 46:4, NIV). It is a river I do not fear, even in my real life. It is a river more pure than any other river. It is a real river of relief. It is a river that thunders with praise of divine power. It is a river for tasting, drinking, wading, and plunging, and for walking of its banks.
It is my river. And, it is your river.
To be honest with you, friends, I need a drink from that river. I need to stand on its bank and wade into its effervescence. To be affected by its persuasive authority. To be guided into its healing falls.
For, all channels that rill from its presence make glad the sacred places of my life. All streams from its Source make glad the scarred places in my heart.
"Glad" in original Hebrew means to rejoice or cheer up.
So, placing my own heart-spin on Psalm 46:4, I perceive that river as the Holy Spirit and paraphrase the following:
When my heart is in need, when my life feels broken, when I reach my endpoint, I can fall on my face and seek my Creator of rivers. He will send His Holy Spirit to fill my emptiness and heal my hurts. His sacred presence will change my mourning into dancing, my pain to praise, my endpoint to a new point.
The past several months have been a tiring swim. I am slightly stretched. I miss my home and my familiar surroundings. Our church is suffering need. Physically, my health is daily challenging. And, other needs unspoken now, press and weigh. Yet, like David, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13, NIV).
In the New King James Version, that scripture reads, "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." And verse 14 ends the psalm with some of the most encouraging words in scripture: "Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!"
Sometimes we have to wait to wade, to venture out into and drink His living water. We sit on the bank so thirsty and fatigued, yet so hopeful because of faith's vision.
Turning to the Word in those dry, dessertlike seasons is our refuge. Because. . .
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you (2 Corinthians 4:7-12).
My suffering does not compare to Paul's or so many others; yet, it is working my death and His life in me. I guess what I'm saying, dear friend, is that His grace is enough. And, though sometimes it seems all we have, we stand unshaken because it really is all we need. And, I believe. No, I know future glory will reveal that truth in all of us.
Unyielding, I vision His water! Unshaken, I proclaim that God is in control! Unmoved, I stand by grace!