Monday, October 5, 2009

Old Man River and the Rain

I love the flowing waters of a river or mountain stream. My spirit is calmed by the sounds of the water flowing over the rocks and across the gravel banks. Just the thought of a clear mountain stream in Colorado can take me there. Then there is the warm red waters pushing lazily by in a mighty river in Texas. They are both moving waters consoling to my soul.

The vast reservoirs of water in central and south Texas have also earned a place in my heart. Some are huge and serve as water supplies for drinking, farming, household and industrial uses. Many times I have explored these reservoirs and they are reticent chapters in the memories of my life.

Water is said to be the great reliever and for me when I feel out of sorts a shower can be one of the things that brings me back to center. I have taken several showers in a day on bad days when nothing seems to be going right or I don’t feel well physically. Water, in so many ways, seems to bring me back to start and I can begin again.

I have long been one who has tried to please others and God by doing all the right things. For years when anyone asked me to help set-up at church, help with a Sunday school class, visit with a wounded member I was first in line. I preached a calling to everyone who went to our church to take on as much as I had, I challenged them.

The whole thing really carried the stench of pride and ego. The need is there and the acts were good and thoughtful so how could that be wrong? If you know of a need, do it. Don’t come to the table with a complaint or problem unless you are willing to be a part of the solution. Pull yourself up by your boot straps. Pray this way and study this scripture, do it like me.

Then it hit, a wall I could not overcome, I was drained. God’s loving compassion for this egotistical shell of a man took me out of it all. He removed all the comforts of my routine; He removed the confines I had built that kept me comfortable in my world. I took a job out of town and was away from my family most days for 11 months.

God placed me in a quiet place for almost a year. Over that period I began to detox. The things I thought so important faded and my heart began to heal. I began to seek a feeling, something I longed for that I had filled with busy Christian works. I could not figure out what it was exactly but the hole in my heart was emptied of all my good works and deeds and readied it for His love.

OK, so if you’re a regular guy like me, I guess some of this stuff sounds pretty soft and fluffy. I don’t know where a lot of it comes from, it just comes – but I am learning that the word love is a big deal and that God’s love is what I am seeking. It is hard to explain how deep and profound the feeling is even in the smallest bits and pieces. I was looking for a lightning bolt, it was a small pat on the back, a hand on my shoulder. The deal is when I finally found out what it is, how it feels, I am hungry for it. It is like trying to match a great shot at the golf course or a big fish on the line, for ladies maybe finding a great pair of shoes on sale or a good hair day. You spend large time trying to get that feeling again, you think about it, all the nuances that surrounded it, it makes you smile and feel warm and good. That is what finding the love of God does. You don’t get it every shot, not every cast, not every shopping trip, but you strive for it anyway, you want it.

John Eldredge talks about how a river can flow constantly but a reservoir need to fill up before it can spill over. He talks about how good it is to be so full of God’s love in us that it spills over into the lives of those around us. There are a lot of references to the flowing river throughout scripture – but for me – the auto pilot mechanical Christian, water in - water out was not working. Now I am asking for God’s rain to fill my reservoir.

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
(Mercy Me)

TJ Greaney

PS: I liked this line but could not figure out how to fit it in…
– another great cast down the fairway catching a really nice shoe on sale right after a good haircut.…perfect…..

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