"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." ~ Matthew 5:14-16

Friday, June 21, 2013

Come To The River

Day 4, final day of Stillness: "Come to the River"

I say "final day of stillness" only because today was my last official planned alone time without kids for now, but God revealed to me this morning during our time together that I can find that stillness with Him any time I need it...

I have spent the past 3 mornings having quiet time with God out on my back deck. I realized this morning that I would not have the deck available to me because it was still wet with stain. This disappointed me, and I began to think of where else I could spend that time this morning. I considered that I could just sit on the couch next to the open window, taking in the fresh smell of... (sniff, sniff)... deck stain.

And then the song "Come To The River" by the Rhett Walker Band starting played softly in my soul. "Come to the river... oh and lay yourself down.... let your heart be found... you say come to the river... drink from the cup I pour... and thirst no more."  It just kept playing over and over and over again.  I thought of a park in town that I take the boys to sometimes to throw rocks in the river. Of course! Even better than my back deck, it would be the perfect place to spend quiet time with God.

As I was driving there, I turned on the radio and wouldn't you know, the words were playing there, too, audibly this time... "come to the river..." At this point I smiled, and almost cried, as I sang along to the words that were so clearly speaking to my heart. I was overwhelmed. I was excited! What did God have in store for me this morning? What would I encounter at the river? "Must be something big," I thought to myself. For that moment, at least, I knew I was headed to the right place.

I arrived at the riverbank, sat in my chair, and looked around, taking it all in. I remembered something we had done a long time ago in a high school class. I got out my notebook and pen and started writing down the response of my senses... the trees' refection in the river... birds taking their morning baths and flying back and forth across the river... the sunlight on the leaves of the trees... the blue sky... perfect air temperature with a gently breeze... fresh air mixed with the dampness of the riverbank... the water flowing gently with the current... and a strange-looking small bird with a long, pointy beak walking along the river's edge, hunting for minnows.

As I turned to my devotion, the words spoke about asking the Holy Spirit to open my spiritual eyesight and hearing, to practice looking and listening for God during quiet intervals. So I sat and watched the river for awhile... looking, listening, waiting. And then I began to write down the words that whispered to my heart:

"Come to the River,
the river is timeless.
It has no place to be
at any given time.
It flows and goes
where the current takes it,
speeding up and slowing down
as it rises and falls.

Seek Me at the River
where I dwell in timelessness.
Look and listen,
Wait in hope for Me.
You will seek Me and find Me
when you seek Me with all your heart."

I got up from my chair and walked to the river's edge. I only had a few more minutes before I had to leave to get the boys. I stood there for a minute... then I took off my sandals, and walked in. The river is shallow right now, it came up just above my ankles. As I approached the middle of the river, I felt the current grow a little stronger. I looked all around at the trees and water that surrounded me. I closed my eyes and soaked in the sun's warmth on my face. Typically I would take a picture with my camera and store it on my computer. But I didn't need a camera, not this time. All of my senses were capturing this moment, to be stored forever in my soul.

A few moments later, I felt that timelessness beginning to melt away. And I spoke aloud, "God, I don't want to leave. I want to stay here with You. I don't want to lose this Peace. I'm not ready to go yet."

The Lord whispered back to me, "You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. Look. Listen. Wait in hope for Me. My Spirit dwells within you."
I walked slowly back to the riverbank where the world awaited me. As I drove away, my feet still a little wet in my sandals, I tried to put everything together. Yet there were just a few words that kept lingering in my heart... "come to the river... look... listen... seek me with all your heart... My Spirit dwells within you."  And then it all made perfect sense. I know now that I can go back to that quiet place in my soul any time I need to. Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed by the world, by the chaos, I can stop for even a brief moment and seek God where He dwells deep in my heart... and I can take His hand as He leads me out to the stillness of the River.

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