Think On This
Flowing Waters Flowing Waters Flowing Waters Flowing Waters
  • But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.
    Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy
    - Psalm 59: 16-17

He Desires To Remove The Rough Edges Life May Bring To Us, If We Just Let His Spirit Flow Through And Over Us.

I don´t recall ever seeing so much water flowing down this mountain river before—something is different. The huge boulders and all the various forms of stone seem to guide the water with all its sounds like an orchestra leader conducting a symphony.

Shelia, my wife, and I were once again visiting one of our favorite places in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park just outside Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was a much needed rest away from the almost seemingly routine day to day things that had been generating much stress: the economic situation in our country, the stress of my job—the company I work for had just announced over eleven thousand layoffs world wide, the ongoing counseling and help with our daughter who was experiencing a marriage crisis—the mom of our beautiful seven month old grand daughter. This late winter trip to the mountains, like the many before, has always been an anticipated winter retreat for Shelia and me. This time it was needed more than ever before. It seems year after year the need to be away in the quiet refuge of God´s creation and the renewing it provides has become more important than some of the more seemingly pressing matters we could let take its place at home. A week in a favorite cabin, many times with another couple, this time just the two of us. A time for a postponed anniversary celebration, just to celebrate life together, sharing and reading by the fireplace—some days never leaving the cabin.

Today, as many times before, we took a walk into the park to a special place where a quiet trail leads from the busy winding park road up the mountain to a hidden roaring mountain river. Along the trail is a narrow wooden walking bridge that spans the river where you can actually stand just a few feet above the water, a chance to really see the rocks in the middle of the river up close where the water has poured over them and formed them for hundreds of years. The gushing and splashing noise from the flowing water sometimes makes it difficult to hear each other talk; this time we just stood in the middle of the bridge pointing to things we remembered from our past visits and to some things we didn´t recall ever seeing before. At times during the spring when the mountain snows melt and the spring rains come the force of the water changes the position of the huge river boulders and rock formations. For me, today was truly special.

Six weeks earlier Shelia and I were having our morning quiet time, sharing, reading scripture and praying together. We usually take turns. Sometimes I will lead and at others she will lead the sharing and praying. This particular morning I began to lead us. We were burdened about various ongoing events that were taking place in our lives and the lives of our family. During my prayer I began thanking God for always being there and being our anchor in troubled times: ’You are our Rock, and no matter what comes over us or how often it comes you can not be moved. You are only shaping us to be what you desire us to be.’ During those words—at that moment—I felt such emotion come over me; tears began to run down my face. I pictured a flowing mountain river, cascading water over rocks that were smoothed and rounded from the many years of water having flowed over them.

To me, the water was a symbol of life itself—sometimes gushing at us, against us; other times, gentle in places, but the current trying to take us places we are unfamiliar with or where we do not want to go. I could see where the water had continually flowed over the rocks—the rough edges of the rocks had become smooth. Until they are smoothed or moved by the water they disrupt the flow, causing the water to violently change direction, splash and swirl around. Much like our life with the rough edges we may have, difficult times in our lives or things we haven´t given to Christ sometimes causes us to change direction, swirl around and take a path we don´t understand, sometimes permitting us to take a path He doesn´t desire for us. We let ourselves be moved from a safe snuggled in secure place, to see what we can do on our own.

As Shelia and I stood on the walk bridge looking up the roaring mountain river, we stood silently—taking it all in. I had not said a word to Shelia; but suddenly my prayer I had prayed weeks before came to my mind—I was reliving the images of the river, the rocks and the water. I just said to her; ’these rocks have been here for hundreds of years.’ She responded with the words that obviously seemed simplistic but hit me with such impact; ’Yes they have, the same rocks but different water.’ Wow, she didn´t know it but she had just spoken something that only God could have given her to speak to me—a confirmation—He is our Rock, He will always be there when life brings us different circumstances, trials and troubles in our lives, different water—same protector, same refuge, same Christ, the same “Rock’ of our salvation. He desires to remove the rough edges life may bring to us, if we just let His Spirit flow through and over us. He desires to develop our character to reflect Him and His character.

We will always have different things come at and over us; it is our faith in Him that will allow us to keep our grip, be polished and reflect Him in a world filled with rough edges and a current that desires to take us places we may not desire to go.

Time has now passed since I began this writing and gushing waters of the everyday world pushed against us from every side just as the waters flowed across the rocks in the mountain river. Through these times our faith in Him has seen us through—our edges have been smoothed once again—we are once again snuggled in a secure comforting place. We remain aware, that the rivers will again swell one day and the deafening sounds of life will try to ground out His assuring voice to us but we must once again trust in what His purpose is for us.  

There is a verse in one of my favorite hymns, “It Is Well With My Soul’ that contains the words I cling to that comforts me in those times the river´s of life swell against me: “O, Lord haste the day When my faith shall be site, The clouds be roll back As a scroll; The trump shall resound And the Lord shall descend, “Even so’ it is well With My soul’. Today, we must live by faith and one day because of our faith we will see!

He is the same yesterday, today and forever; though different waters may come, He created me to be who I am. It is my faith and trust in Him that keep me firmly planted where He has me as He smoothes the rough edges that life brings on me. It is He who gives me hope in all things; my faith soon will be site—it is well, it is well with my soul!

Author: Bill Lowery
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