The Movement of a Stream
Have you ever stood at the edge of a rushing stream and noticed the different ways water moves? Near the shore, where you are standing, there is hardly any movement at all. A little further in, it hints at moving downstream but gets caught up in eddies and moves at a “two steps forward, one step back” kind of pace. Closer to the center of the brook, water flows with purpose but is hindered by friction with the bottom. It is still shallow there. Finally, in the middle of the stream, reckless abandon reigns as the torrent carelessly seeks lower terrain; only well-rooted boulders can resist its will.
The way water moves in a stream is an excellent metaphor for how we respond to God’s leadership in our lives. We can see what he wants us to do from the shore, but taking a step means getting wet. Commitment is needed. Now in the water, we play around in the eddies, sensing the pull of his will but not committing fully to letting go of the safety of the shore just a few steps away. If we bravely venture further, we leave the beach behind and move in the direction God is leading, but it is shallow, and we drag our feet, still holding on to control of our speed. Finally, if we allow ourselves to get fully enveloped in what God wants for us, we find ourselves caught up in the full power of his current. All hope of self-control is gone. We are entirely his. We have died. He is alive. We are lost in him.
Our lives are defined by our interaction with the stream of God’s will for us. Mostly, we stay on or near the shore, occasionally getting toward what God wants but holding on to our final authority. Plunging into the rushing current and pulling our feet up seems unwise, too risky, and even crazy. We could lose everything, even our very lives.
Following God into his will’s deep, cascading flow requires courage, stamina, and faith.
Courage understands the risk but moves forward in the face of fear for the reward at the end of the course. It draws its power from “Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, (who), for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2 NIV
Stamina keeps our heads from going under. Giving way entirely to God’s leading is not easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you ever do. We do it “because we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain;” therefore, we remain firm. 1 Cor 15:58 NIV
Faith pushes us beyond common sense, out of the boat and onto the water with Jesus. It is what sees beyond the current confusion of the cataract to the hope we find in the arms of our savior. He is able and “with (us) always, even to the end of the age.” Matt 28:20b NIV
If you find yourself at the water’s edge with Jesus calling you into the middle of the current, give in to obedience and discover all God has for you—only the one who made you can take you there.