Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Life. Like a river, Like a journey.

What I love most about rivers is:
You can't step in the same river twice
The water's always changing, always flowing
But people, I guess, can't live like that
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing
What's around the riverbend
Waiting just around the riverbend

I look once more
Just around the riverbend
Beyond the shore
Where the gulls fly free
Don't know what for
What I dream the day might send
Jut around the riverbend
For me
Coming for me [Disney's Pocahontas]

God is showering me with Good Things. Wow. I have WAY more to say on that subject. Suffice for now that my Dad's words to me are ringing true: "Life has so many curves and corners that you can't see and don't expect. [so, don't try! Trust God and enjoy the ride!] And nothing is ever a waste." As Pastor Jamie put it, "Run to Jesus, and see where He takes you." Ashlea reminded me of a verse of JRR Tolkien's that seemed to fit my experience right now:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither, then? I cannot say.

The past few days have been a bursting blaze of joy, pouring in from everywhere-- like when the sun finally breaks over the rim of the mountains at sunrise, and suddenly there's color everywhere! There have been letters from friends "back home," full of encouragement and genuine kindness, there's been the kindness of until-now-strangers, there's been the care package from my parents with a new shirt in it!, there's been moist, fluffy bread that I can eat (yesterday I was joking that I KNOW Jesus loves me when Sina Shuey bakes me gluten-free bread), there's the new job, there's the deepening friendships here in Louisville, there's the encouraging conversations with my family from back home, and more!... And that's just from outside my heart! The biggest sources of joy come from seeing the grace of God at work in ME! Me, who is so stuck on myself, who feels so broken and paralyzed by fears and hurts so often...being a blessing to others? learning to love others without fear? serving in a community of saints without guilt, fear, or pressure, only joy!? Is this what I saw in Amy's face when she told me of the joy of walking in the Will of God? Is this the joy of the Bride when finally she sees her Bridegroom? Is this the joy I remember, from other days when I have been content to rest, my hand trustfully in my Guide's, excited to see what's around the next bend, but content to hold his hand and wait until He takes me there, because HE'S WITH me?

Yes! Yes, this is a season of joy in following God, and while I love it, and am thankful for it, I know my heart is often far more prone to wander when I seem in Eden, then when I am plainly in the Desert of Zin. When I only have Him, it's a lot harder to stray! And there is sweetness in the cloudy times that sometimes is lost when all is clear. The Deceiver plots against the believer in every state and season. The blazing dazzle of blessed circumstances can so easily be mistaken for joy in the journey itself-- worship of the gifts instead of the worship of the Giver! Val [Powell] warned me last night to fight, fight against that! It's so easy to deceive ourselves, thinking that we're rejoicing in the love of Jesus, when really, we're just happy things are going our way.

My temptation this season of joy is to neglet the cultivation of a thankful heart, and patience. I want to run headlong, to see some of these circumstancial joys more fulfilled, instead of savoring EACH step of the path ordained for me. Some joys before me are only promised "soon." I can SEE them, but I must be content for now to WAIT on them, and to wait in patience. As I wrote someone earlier today, "I tend to get fretful and feverish, trying to “do, do do!” and “think, think think!” trying to figure out the BEST way...trying to work off my guilt, trying to SEE what faith looks like...which can real quick end up becoming a contradiction...basically, patience is a virtue I only ever display and enjoy after hard struggle. And lots of grace. "

My mom was so wise to share this with me, from Spurgeon's Morning & Evening,

"Lead me in Your truth & teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day." (Psalm 25:5)
When trembling believers begin to walk in the Way of the Lord, they ask to be led like children upheld by their parents' hands, and they crave to be further instructed in the alphabet of truth. [...]
"On You I wait all the day." Patience is the daughter of faith. We cheerfully wait when we are certain we will not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait on the Lord in service, in trust, in worship, and in expectancy all the days of our life. Then our faith will be tested and true, a faith that will bear continuous trials.
We will not grow weary of waiting on God when we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us.” --July 8th, Evening "A Teaching Faith" (emphasis my own)

This morning, what a sweet sense of rest & peace-- of realizing deep within that I most certainly do NOT wait in vain. And so I may wait patiently, calmly-- even joyfully. The savoring of every step of the journey is far more full of joy than a headlong rush to the finish-line.

"Pursuing it with eager feet, [...]
And whither, then? I cannot say..."

But I aim to love this bit of the road, this river, right now!
Still trying to learn to "possess my soul in patience,"
--Christina

1 comment:

AE said...

amen. something that i've been seeing through my study of Ruth is that very thing, Christina. That it is really the LORD we are waiting on.... and once I could see that i was able to see circumstances and providences no longer as barriers but as sweet workings of our Father's hand in MY life... and there is such joy and rest that comes from that... that comes from knowing that 1. God is at work in my life... in other words... HE CARES! and 2. I really am waiting on GOD and not people, or other uncontrolable seeming at times "lucky happenings"... or unlucky events..... I really am waiting on a Kind, and GOOD, and powerful God.
.... love you lots Christina... and it is such a joy to see you growing and finding joy and rest again in Christ and in no other.... that makes my soul happy.

-amy d.