Let’s take a walk down to the river, you and I. It won’t take long—I know how busy you are…
…You’ll come? Splendid!
It’s much too lovely a day to stay indoors anyway. See how the sunshine fairly dances across the mounds of bright white clouds? And look how the yellow asters and violets seem to vie for attention in the grass.
Listen! Before we even glimpse the river through the trees, we can hear the water gurgling over the rocks.
Ah-h-h. Feel that cool air? These grand, shady oaks grow especially lush by the river.
Here we are! I told you it wouldn’t take long. Let’s sit on these rocks for a moment.
Isn’t it peaceful? The only sounds are the burbling eddies and the distant chirping of a few birds. Must be nap time for the woodland creatures.
The water currents are moving at a slow, steady pace today. Look how the sun glints off the gentle ripples, like tiny stars on liquid sky.
What is it about water that we find so appealing? Why does a vista of calm waters also calm our spirits?
Such questions bring to mind a scripture about God being like a river.
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells” (Psalm 46:4).
Those of us who love God are the inhabitants of the city, made glad by the streams of the God River.
But how is God like a river?
One, he is our resting place, much as this river offers a quiet retreat. Just reflecting on a few of his names can calm our hearts. He is our Shepherd—caring and protective, he is our Rock—reliable and strong, he is our Father—loving and kind.
Just to name a few.
Two, God’s grace (all of his riches) comes to us like the water of this river, in an unending flow. And much as we delight in this scenic view of drifting water and majestic trees, God’s exquisite grace cheers our hearts again and again.
But to enjoy the river fully, we have to sit on its banks. We have to look and listen with focused attention. Otherwise we’ll miss much of its beauty.
The same is true of God’s grace.
So sit quietly. Turn over in your mind the glorious treasures of his grace, and inspect them:
• Inexhaustible love
• Unmerited favor
• Total forgiveness
• Eternal bliss in heaven
• Lavish provision
• Unfailing empowerment
• Delightful blessings
• Dazzling transformation
And again, this list is just a sampling.
Last, consider these grand oak trees. They, too, offer appropriate imagery of another Bible passage about rivers.
“Blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season”
(Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG).
* * * * * * * * * *
Oh, Lord, thank you for your peace and grace that flow unending like a great river. I reaffirm my trust in you. My heart’s desire is to be like one of these trees– spiritually strong, serene, and calm—no matter what happens. And I want to bear fruit, to grow qualities that reflect you. As I seek to send my roots deep into the soil of your Word, guide my thoughts and actions. Because most of all, I want to honor you.