Early this morning as I shuffled across our hardwood floors from the kitchen and the coffee maker to the study, I suddenly heard the words “You can’t go back, you can only go forward.” In the instant of time that it took to glance up the stairs to the loft and then pass on by, I pictured countless examples of people that we know who enjoy living in the past, of movies that we have seen where the main character is miraculously transported back in time in order to right a wrong decision that had changed the course of their lives, and then I saw, as if looking in slow motion, my wife’s maturing through the years beginning as a teenager in our High School years and progressing through the 41 years of our relationship until the situation today.
When I plopped into my chair and spun it around so as to face my desk, my countenance lit up with understanding and I broke the stillness and quiet solitude that surrounded me by laughingly proclaiming that “Yeah, I’m not expecting her to be like she was, but stronger and better than she has ever been!” At that point my eyes caught a glance of the bottom of a sheet of paper peeking out from under a Bible sitting on my side table. The sheet contained an article that I had printed out on the previous Friday concerning types of the Holy Spirit. (Check out last Friday’s blog posting “FUN!)
The only thing that I could see on the page was the scripture reference of John 7:38. The God’s Word translation of this verse has Jesus saying: “Whoever is thirsty must come to me to drink. As the scripture says, ‘streams of living water will flow deep with the person who believes in me.’” Now while this verse is talking about the Holy Spirit in the life of the Believer and can lead into a variety of discussions, what immediately caught my attention was the picture of a flowing stream or “river” as many other translations say. A river is always flowing from its source to its final destination. A moving river is a healthy river carrying life sustaining elements with it wherever it flows. A river normally only flows in one direction and it can be quite difficult to try and move against its current. A river that has stopped moving can quickly become a stagnant pool that becomes a haven for moss, mosquitoes and muck!
This thought reminded me of our summer vacations as a kid in the giant Redwood groves along the
in northern Eel River California. One
of the three campgrounds at Richardson , which was my parent’s favorite park, was situated on the river bank. And while the area
boasted heavy rainfall during the winter months, the summer months were known
to be dry and hot. This caused the river
to be fairly shallow and at times a little stagnant in some of its bends where
any movement came to a stand still.
These were the areas where I would pull my hands out of the water and
hope that my forward motion would be enough to propel my plastic air mattress
through until we reached the clearer water!
Those few yucky areas and the burns on the insides of my upper arms from
where I would rub them raw while paddling my “boat” are some of the very
few negative memories I have concerning my family’s early camping adventures! Grove State Park
I always enjoyed it the most when we would come near the end of our journey and finally reach the narrow straight section where the current would be flowing at a decent pace and carry us in blissful glee up to the sandy beach near the trail back to our campsite. (and the burn lotion that my mother would lather upon our arms!) Moving forward with the current of the river was always the easiest and the natural way to go. It would like-wise seem that moving forward on the rivers of the Holy Ghost is also the natural way to go. Once again, not trying to go back to where you used to be, but forward and on to be where our heavenly Father wants us to be today!
So… In what direction are you headed? Is the past where you find your comfort? Or is it in the future where you have to place your trust entirely in the Lord and depend on His wisdom, care and protection. Have a great week. Stay in tune to His word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”