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The River

Hi Folks,

Sorry I haven’t blogged for a while. I’ve been deluged with “stuff.”

I want to thank all of you who were able to contribute to Tobi Olatoye’s education at YWAM. And I want to thank all of you who are supporting her in prayer. We raised over $3,000 to help this wonderful young lady! We haven’t yet covered all her expenses, however, so if you’d like to consider helping and want more information about this, check out my previous blog.

I had an interesting time with the Lord Saturday morning that I’d like to share. As I typically do, I was spending the first part of the day laying in bed, remaining aware of, and surrendered to, God’s loving presence while paying attention to feelings inside of me. I felt this familiar “ache” in my soul that I’ve written about before. As I remained aware of God’s presence and explored what this ache was about, I suddenly found myself in a very vivid imaginative scene.

I was standing at the banks of a beautiful, wide, calmly flowing river. All around me and on the other side of the river were large trees reflecting the morning sun with a magnificent array of fall colors. I was also aware that Jesus was behind me, though it didn’t feel appropriate to turn and look at him.

Suddenly, all the things that are dear to me began to appear in front of me, one by one. I intuitively knew I was supposed to load each one on a raft and send it down the ever-flowing river, watching as it floated away and disappeared around a bend down stream. Just as one thing disappeared, another would appear and I would repeat the process. I can’t communicate how each of these things were represented in my imagination, but I ended up saying “goodbye” to all my possessions, all the activities that I love, all my accomplishments, all my most precious memories, and even all the qualities that make me the individual that I am. I felt the ache in my soul rise slightly as each thing was carried out of sight around the bend.

Then all the people who are dear to me began to appear before me, one by one, and I knew I had to release each one of them to the river as well. This was more difficult. They never spoke a word, but each had the calm look of resigned wisdom and a bittersweet smile that communicated compassion toward me. It was as though each person was saying; “Thank you for the life we’ve shared, but you need to let me go for now.” I knew they were right, though I felt the ache intensify as we embraced and then waved goodbye as the calm stream took them away from me. I wept as I watched each of my children and then my wife Shelley disappear around the bend, waving goodbye till the very end.

Then I was all alone. I stood for several moments staring at the quietly flowing stream and the beauty of my autumn surroundings. Despite feeling profoundly alone and empty, I felt a strange sense of harmony between the ache in my soul and the beauty of the river. It was as if my soul ache and the river were two sides of the same coin. And I knew I needed to embrace both. When I did, I felt like the ache as well as the river were my friends.

I then slowly turned around and saw Jesus, sitting on a tree stump with a tender smile and a look of serene wisdom. He nodded his head slightly and I teared up as I said, “You are enough. And I will trust you.”

I am more acutely aware than ever that the river never stops flowing, not even for a second. It eventually carries away everything and everyone we love. Yet, if we keep growing in our capacity to have Jesus as our sole source of life, we can trust that in the end, love will lose nothing — including the valuable lessons the ache in our soul is trying to teach us. Clinging to Christ alone while remaining aware of the relentless river that carries all things away allows us to cherish the people and things we love moment-by-moment.

I encourage you to embrace the ache; embrace the river; embrace life and all that you love,  moment by moment. And most importantly, embrace Christ.



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