Life is a river you have to jump into. There’s no getting around it. It’s there and if you stand in one place too long, it’s going to rise around you. So you might as well jump.
A couple of days ago we said good bye to some new friends of ours who abruptly caught one of the last flights to Australia. They had intended to move mid-April, and in fact already sent most of their stuff ahead of them. The problem, however, is they planned to move back to England. Not Australia.
Due to many complications with the pandemic they had no choice. Not only had to push their departure date but had less than 48 hrs. to pack the rest of whatever they could take with them and go. We broke health protocol to ensure they were able to make that flight. And we just got word that they did.
Before they left I took a few moments to text them a message, something they could read on their flight. Or whenever they needed to make sense of what they have now embarked on. I want to share with you what I wrote because I think it might help make some sense or distract you for a moment.
Today is that day. It’s a day you have to believe that your faith can trust the river, to trust its flow and its movement. You don’t have to change the water, or coerce its currents, or try to improve its direction. You just have to jump in and enter the flow. Be one with the water, one that rises and falls. And rises again.
Richard Rohr writes, "You can trust the river because the River is God who flows unguarded." God is the water, not pulling you down but moving you with ease and flow. Just allow the flow to flow, not merely around you but through you as well. Become part of the river. Become a part of the flow.
This will take immense faith and confidence in God’s goodness, especially when you are unsure or afraid. When I feel myself get panicky, I try to take control. I try to quickly make things right. But on my terms. And I lose my ability to be present. I spin out in the past and freak out over what’s to come. The problems right now, are right now. In the present, where the River flows. This is where we meet God, or where God meets us.
Once you’re in the water it’s hard to swim upstream and return to your past. And it’s difficult to see what’s downstream at the surprises that await. If your past has taught you anything, it’s that there will be surprises to come. Thus, jump into the river. Be in the water and stay focused on navigating the currents with ease and flow.
You have to enter the river. You will see that sometimes it will be turbulent, sometimes it will be calm, but all times you will be moving and flowing to exactly where you need to go. God is the River. Trust the flow, be present in the movement, and know that anything unexpected is still part of God.
Do not fear. Do not worry. Do not be afraid. These are some of the most common and most prolific phrases in Scripture. They sound nice and look good in needlepoint. But let’s be real. You will be afraid, and you will fear...we all do. But in our fear and worry, God is with us there too. With a contingency plan. It’s all part of the river of life.
Jesus said, “Anyone who is thirsty come to me and let the one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture has said, out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”
So don’t lose what little or great faith you might have. Instead jump into it. The overwhelming feelings you have in your stomach, the unbearable weight that sits on your heart, and the noisy confusion in your head, they are all part of the river. They are ways God is trying to speak to you, to help you navigate.
In this madness promise me you will take some time to stop, breathe, and listen to what God is trying to say to you, and see where you are being directed to go. As you do, don’t forget to look at all that’s around you and see its beauty. For it’s there you will find your peace, your joy, and your faith...all splashing together in one endless flow of love.