Thursday, September 8, 2011

A River Runs Through It

Recently my husband and I went kayaking with a couple we have known for 30 years.  They live in a community north of Chicago which surrounds a 100 acre lake.  The sun warmed our skin, the strong breeze kept us honest in our paddling, and wild herons and swans graced the shore.  When we came around one bend, there was a small eight-foot bridge that looked like the railing on someone’s backyard deck.  “That,” said our friend Sandy, “is the dam.”  Forty years ago, three inconsequential “you-could-jump-over-them” creeks were dammed to form this lake on what used to be a farm.  A small obstacle served to create a large scenic body of water.

Someone had the vision to strategically place a small disruption in the flow of those meandering streams.  The creeks still flow through the land, but now, instead of being the end, they are the means of nurturing something much bigger than themselves.

In His Word, God talks a lot about the imagery of water:  being planted by rivers of water, walking on dry ground in the midst of the Red Sea or Jordan River, Christ as the living water, and our lives as being rivers.

Do I have the vision for obstacles and difficulties as something God has placed in my life for a reason and purpose?  Do I SEE them differently?  Or only as an annoyance and something from which I cry for deliverance – or complain about?  That obstacle may not be about me after all.  As Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest, “…out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth.  We have nothing to do with the outflow -- This is the work of God…  If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others.”

Let God use that interruption today, that change of plans, that unplanned outcome, that traffic jam, for His glory.  Ask not “why God?”  but “what?”  God’s purposes are always deeper than we can envision.

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,

and their tongue is parched with thirst,

I the LORD will answer them,

I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

I will open rivers on the bare heights,

and fountains in the midst of the valleys;

I will make the wilderness a pool of water,

and the dry land springs of water.

…that men may see and know,

may consider and understand together,

that the hand of the LORD has done this,

the Holy One of Israel has created it.

                            Isaiah 41. 17-18, 20