Remain by the Riverbank

These last few years have been hard.  I’ve been really in a season of constant change – leave a job I love to go to one closer, enjoy that new job but it was just too much, take a new part-time job with the hope of having time for my passions and pursuits yet end up being a care-taker in my off time, coming on full-time with that job and enjoying it but still feeling called to something different, choosing to expand our family and having yet another shift in my job which will hopefully open me up for more time… but an infant!

If we really stop and think about it, change is constant, and it causes more dependence on God — if we look at it that way.

Or maybe not.

Maybe it causes us to look inward more.  Maybe it causes us to hole-in and hide our gifts. Maybe it causes us to look sideways at people, become more questioning. Maybe instead of reaching out to God to take his hand and walk step-by-step with him we choose to chart our own course and try and “make it.”

I think that’s where I’ve been.  Looking inward. Holing in. Charting my course. Veiling my face.

You see, when we live like that, we’re never going to walk in the fullness of God’s plan for our life. We can’t. God can’t bless what he’s cursed:  walking life without him. You see it in the Israelites over and over again – they tried to go their own way and were only met with more trial and more trouble. God’s plan for us calls for us to remain, to be planted near Him, to abide.

ugh… abide.  get still. stay with Him.

Why is that so difficult?

See I don’t like to stay still. (unless I’m out in the middle of a forest or field and I’ve been swirling a lot in life… but that’s another story for another day) I like to stay busy. I like to look to the next task, the next thing, the new. And God wants that new for me, but he says that “tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.” Don’t worry about tomorrow.

Stay.  Here.

That’s not an easy thing. Staying. Waiting. Watching for the thing your heart desires to come to pass.

I was listening to a podcast from Transformation Church by Pastor Michael Todd about Psalm 1.  It’s one of my favorite passages in scripture.  I think it was one of the first chapters that I memorized as a little kid.  The imagery captured my heart.

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
nor stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers,
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever he does prospers.

unsplash-logoMatthew Smith

A strong tree. A fruitful tree. An unwithering tree. A prospering tree.

I want all those things.  I want to be strong. I want to be planted. I want to be fruitful. I want to not wither. And I want to prosper.

But I don’t want to stay still – remain by that stream of water.  I mean, I do – I want the benefits of it – but the hard work that has to happen for a tree to become strong – the roots going down deep.  I don’t know that I have been disciplined enough to stay there.

But this is what the Lord’s showing me:  He cannot allow me to bear fruit if I’m not remaining in Him.

So, in this season, this ever-changing season, I’m asking him for more discipline to just remain. To soak in Him. To let my roots go down deeper into Him. To drink from the brook and receive the refreshing and strengthening waters that only He can provide.  That Living Water.

How about you? Are you struggling to remain? Where do you find it most difficult to trust God’s timing? What fruit are you trying to produce in your own strength that Jesus could create with ease if you just plugged into him?

Lord, I’m weary.  I’ve been running and going in my own strength.  I just want to sit with you and receive your refreshing. I don’t want to be harried and trying to make things happen in my time.  I want to be blessed by You. I want your plans to come to pass in my life.  I want you to receive the glory. Cause me to get still beside you. Create a new rhythm in me that draws me to you instead of jumps up to get moving. Let my roots go down deep in You.  You are worthy of my stillness and my attention. Draw me in, God. Amen.

My girlfriend Bethany and her husband wrote this song that comes to mind often when I feel parched and desire that RiverbankI hope you enjoy it and are encouraged by the lyrics.


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