River of Life

A friend and I have been having some discussions lately about knowing God’s will.  Initially I was surprised to find myself at such a loss for how to describe the process of knowing God’s plan and doing it, but I realize now that I had only been dangling my feet in the mighty river of life myself, so it’s no wonder that I had such trouble explaining things.

I feel as if I’ve spent the last few years sitting on the banks of a river, splashing with my feet in the shallows and eddies, occasionally wading around, but pretty much just enjoying the view.  I’ve been learning, however, that the shallows are not where God would have me.  He wants to teach me to swim.  And I, I’m ready to learn.  While I’m sure that I’m still going to be grabbing at low hanging tree branches every once in awhile, afraid of what’s coming next, I know that I can no longer be content to play among the reeds.  It’s time to find deeper water.

That river represents the Spirit to me.  If we are willing, we can plunge in and let the Spirit’s current take us where it will, like a twig upon the water.  By staying in the shallows I have been depriving myself of the opportunity to participate fully in whatever God is doing through His Spirit.  I see the water rushing past, and am blessed by it, but I am not taking part.

Granted, the river will sometimes leave the things it carries in little eddies along the way, to be picked up later by a new swell.  So perhaps there will be times when I will be able to rest aside for awhile, catching my breath for the next plunge, as it were.  And just because I’m drifting along the river does not necessarily mean that I’m moving from ministry to ministry.  More like I’m allowing the Spirit to direct me within the ministries to which He has brought me.

Or perhaps it’s more like the river in Ezekiel 47, which began as a trickle and became a roaring river he dared not cross.  I’ve been walking along in it, but I’m reaching a point now where the river is strong enough to carry me along.  The question is, am I going to fight the current, or will I let it take me wherever God wills?  These pictures are probably different aspects or different parts of the same illustration, but perhaps one is easier to understand for some people and the other is clearer to other people.

Now, how can I expect to share the water of Life with others if all I can do is splash them from the shallows?  While it might get them a little wet, it won’t convince them that they want to come join me in the river.  It’s about time I jumped in and showed them what swimming looks like!  Am I a little scared? Yeah.  Am I going to go ahead anyway?  Yes.  Yes, because this is where God is leading me.  Yes, because I want a deeper relationship with Him through the Spirit.

What’s it going to look like?  Who knows!  What did it look like while you learned to swim?  I’m figuring it’ll take awhile before I have a handle on this, but I’m discovering that that’s no reason to stay on the sidelines.  I want to be refreshed and refreshing.  I want to feel the River of Life flowing over and through me in a deeper, more powerful way than I’ve ever felt before.  So I’m going to trust God to teach me how to swim.

As far as what it looks/feels like in shoe-leather on an earthly level, well, that’s going to be different from person to person.  Do all your relationships look the same?  Of course not!  To all outward appearances, it would look like I’m still making all my choices, but the reality is that more and more often I am praying silently about the issue as I talk it through, or I am taking extra time to go home and pray and talk over a decision with my family (if it’s a big decision).  How do I know God is guiding me through the Spirit?  Good question, but one that’s hard to answer unless you’ve also experienced it.  Because I simply have peace in the decision.  The Spirit first prompts me to a decision, and then gives me a sense of its rightness.  If I don’t have that peace, then I know I need to wait until I do.  Sometimes it’s just because I am looking for the answer too soon.   He gives us His answers in his perfect time, not just whenever we think we need to have them.

I know what it feels like to be full of Joy and full of Peace.  I feel like singing every song there is at once, like dancing till I fall exhausted, and so happy that I could burst.  I have a feeling this is going to be similar.  I’m excited to see what God will show me as I let Him have his perfect will in my life.  Like I said, I’m a little worried because I don’t know where He will lead me, but “perfect love casts out fear,” and I trust Him.

Spring Up O Well

I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me;
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free,
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up o well, within my soul,
Spring up o well, and make me whole,
Spring up o well, and give to me that life abundantly

Explore posts in the same categories: Theological Musings, Young Adulthood

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