Rich Dixon continues thinking about prayer and spaces.
Once again I invite you to join me as we pause in the woods next to a bike path beside a river. Sometimes the river churns and rages. At other times it babbles pleasantly or it’s a dried-up, barely visible trickle.
I believe God uses this place to speak to you and me.
The river simply is, as God is who He is.
I’m paralyzed with fear, as though fear will somehow restrain the torrent. I worry about its course, as though worry will alter the river’s direction. I lose hope when the flow diminishes, certain it will never again be sufficient. It’s not fair, I complain, when the same river destroys good and nourishes evil.
I’m certain I know the proper state for the river. I cry to the heavens, as though on my advice God ought to alter the river He created. I question God’s wisdom and purpose when it flows in such obviously “wrong” ways.
Jesus speaks to us in this place, asks us to stop trying to control what we cannot. He uses the river to guide us to trust that God who created it knows its proper path.
We were created by a community to be in community, to live in healthy relationship with others, ourselves, and God. I believe Jesus speaks to us through this metaphor about how to have open, honest, agenda-free encounters with the people on the path, with ourselves, and with God.
When I struggle to hear Jesus, I “go to the river.” Not because He’s more present, but because I’m reminded to release my fear and worry, to rest and trust.
I’m reminded, in the turmoil, that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.