Monday, November 27, 2006

The River of Life

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you – I have called you by your name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned or scorched, nor shall the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God. . . .”

~ Isaiah 43:1b, 2 (Amp)

To continue with my theme from last week, the above Bible verses illustrate the fact that we all “walk through the fire” and “pass through the waters” at some point in our lives. Notice it doesn’t say if these things happen, it says when these things happen. But the good news is that these events need not defeat us, but rather, by the grace of God, they can and will make us stronger.

“We are hedged in (pressed) on every side – troubled and oppressed in every way; but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; We are (persecuted and hard driven,) pursued, but not deserted – to stand alone; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed.”

~ II Corinthians 4:8,9

This past year one of our sons experienced a very painful disappointment in his life. As Keen counseled him, I listened intently and prayed that our son would take his advice to heart.

“A wise son heeds his father's instruction . . .”

~ Proverbs 13:1 (NKJV)

I described the father-son discussion in the following email to a friend:

“My husband spoke to him with words of wisdom; encouraged him to believe that greater opportunities and challenges will now present themselves; will now become a possibility when they would not have been otherwise. . . He reminded him of the elections he had lost without understanding why; of the time the law school turned him away and he had to try again; of the time a judge dismissed our case, ruling that it was without merit. He told of how, in each and every situation, he was later able to look back and see all the good that sprang forth from what, at the time, felt like a death. He told our son to look at his mother, how she was given a frightening diagnosis, how she waited for what seemed like an eternity to find out if she had that dreaded gene; how the doctors said she could have a lumpectomy . . .just a lumpectomy. How after the surgery they said there was more; they didn't get it all; she'd have to be cut again. And how she made the most difficult decision of her life; a decision that would cost her her breasts . . . but would save her life. "Your mother," he said, "had to become so strong, so fast. . . . and you will, too." He told our son that he knew it was hard, and that it would be for some time. He said, "You can't speed the process up; but you can slow it down." He told him to hold his head up high and not to speak one ill word against [anyone]. . . He told him that he might not see it now, but, looking back, one day, he will see. He will be stronger because of this.”

“The curious thing about pain/loss/etc is that if we pretend it didn't happen, it will continue to eat at us and we go into an avoidance mode - then it (the pain) controls and limits what we can or will do. But if we embrace the pain, feel it fully, accept it and say: ‘Yes, this too is a part of my life experience granted by God,’ then it becomes a building block, not a road block. It is the wise who find this out before they die (and the younger you learn it the better).”

~ Duane Herrmann

My friend Kat has the unique ability to derive meaningful lessons from life’s most emotion-packed moments, and then express those thoughts in words that inspire the reader. Since Kat has graciously given me permission to pass along anything she writes to you, I would like to share her most recent gift of words, which were written from her perspective as the mother of a son:

God has made 'reservations' for each of us.
How we long for something that we think is the best. . .
then it simply vanishes and we are speechless
from the pain and rejection.

all the while....

the reservations that God has made for us
silently wait.

Just as it is with those we make at our own favorite restaurant,
all we have to do is get ready and be there on time
in order to receive the service and
attention we appreciate, anticipate, and need.

It is only from experience that I can say this. . .
there is a planned succession of reservations
already made for each and every one of us
by our Father in Heaven.

He is excited and pleased, because
He knows that we will be delighted with
what we are given.

The test is simply . . . time.
It's hard to be young. . . with all the energy and vigor
which naturally propels us forward through the unknown
and unforeseen obstacles.

Faith is the 'confirmation' we hold that assures us
of great things to come. . .
just for us to enjoy
just for us to experience
just uniquely
for us.

Our children seem like stallions at times.
Pawing the ground,
tossing their manes,
snorting with impatience.

Hold fast!
The best lies waiting for you.
It is perfectly aligned with your heart and soul!

Sons own our dreams.


There's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my Captain
I can make it through them all

Yes, I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

The River ~ performed by Garth Brooks

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
~ Psalm 18:2 (NKJV)
Chalk Creek - Nathrop, Colorado