River Revival8:05 AM
My Hammock is running parallel to the river. As it rushes by, the sounds of trickling water bring a sense of peace to my soul. The river has become my sanctuary and the songs of the birds have become my praise. It is not as if I came down here with the specific intent to worship. Instead it is as if there is no other way to express my thanks for the beauty that I am beholding. Like a bride gracing the aisle in white, all eyes upon her with pride, so my soul desires to gaze upon the river, knowing that the hands that drew every curve, that purposed every rapid are the very hands that purposed within me a desire to worship. Yet how is it possible to worship such a creator? How is it possible for me, wretched with sin, to come into the presence of The King?
It is possible because this King, Jesus, allows me to come. He bids me to come to him, and he delights in my longing knowing that through His blood I can experience grace. Through His blood I can be renewed day by day, moment by moment, year by year, and relationship by relationship. In fact, in that very moment when the weariness of your soul overtakes you and the burden becomes so great, your King is bidding you to “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” MATT 11:28-30
Yet why do we refuse to believe him? Why are we so convinced that our burdens are too much for this King to bear or better yet why are we so afraid to relent our weary souls to The One who has promised to make us new. I cannot answer this question for you, but I can answer it for myself and in doing so perhaps awaken a fear within one of you that might break the holds of Satan’s lies. To relent, to give-up, to lay it all on the table before The King sounds pretty simple in theory, but lurking beneath the surface of our hearts is the deadliest of foes, clamoring for our attention and demanding its rightful place within our souls— pride. We often call it every other name in the book to mask the reality of our struggle, but in the end it is always the same — pride. The scripture speaks in blatant truths, leaving no room for possible interpretations in Proverbs 16:18-20, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud. He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” I have faced many a destructive end due to my pride. But what is even worse than the destruction is missing out on the truth that The Lord was graciously trying to bestow on me. But my fear of walking through the pain prevented me from “learning” from my creator. Jesus was gently offering me the most beautiful of views beside the stream of living water where my hammock always hangs with precise accuracy, but I simply replied “No Thanks, man, I’ve got this.” My fear of having to see and recognize the pride within me robbed me of finding rest and left me more weary than before and in a constant search of placing the blame of my inadequacies on someone or something other than myself. Father, I am sorry.
There is great purpose in pain. The Father draws near to the brokenhearted (Psalms 34:18). He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27.) He disciplines those He loves in hopes that they might remember the stream of living water, remember the place of rescue, His blood (Prov 3:11-14). We can cover the pain, run from the pain, hide from the pain, replace the pain with faux pleasure, but eventually at some point in our lives we will have to face the pain. This pain will lead to two ultimate destinations. It will either lead you to your death holding on to your pride as they lower you six feet under, or you will choose to push through it, sometimes kicking and screaming unable to fathom the peace that awaits you on the other side, but you will make it through. And in that moment, when the clouds begin to clear and the sun releases its splendor you will look up through red stained eyes to behold the most beautiful river you have ever seen, you will hear the trickling of the water beneath your feet, and it is in that place, relenting within the arms of the only one who can save, JESUS, that you will find rest.