Thurs., Sept. 19, 2018
Psalm 23:2b-3a- He leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive.
While hiking recently, I walked along the Namekegon River in Northern Wisconsin. The water was terribly peaceful, restful and so serene. Yes, the river was high but just so beautiful and calm.
When you see water like this, it’s challenging to think of the destruction that water can do. Especially recently.
Hundreds of people living in North and South Carolina would not consider water very tranquil these days. They are in the midst of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Florence. I do not know the man in this photo, what he is thinking or what he has endured. Yet, do we not get a glimpse into his world?
In areas not too far from where we live, huge amounts of water have led to significant flooding in many small Wisconsin communities. Some of these are communities are seemingly hanging on by a thread. They have very few businesses, aging populations and lower medium incomes. Local governments are scrambling to hold things together with limited resources. How much state and federal help will be available remains very elusive.
How many references are there of water in the Bible? Hundreds. The number varies depending on which translation is used, but there is no question water is an integral part of God’s kingdom.
Every time I perform a baptism, I am reminded of the many ways water is used scripturally: how nothing was created out of water; the great flood, the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus’ baptism. We find countless examples of where water was used destructively and constructively in the Bible.
It is no different today. Just more poignant when we are participants and not just readers.
Possibly the most well-known verse in scripture about water is found in Psalm 23: “He leads me beside still waters.” Or, in the translation I used above, “restful waters.”
Don’t we all need encounters with the restful waters of the Lord? Especially after we’ve experienced an excruciating hurricane or flood or destruction caused by water?
I wish everyone could find a few moments and walk beside a peace river or creek this week. Hear ducks skim across the water. Observe fish leap out, thinking they are the king of their little pond. Run their hands through a babbling brook. Yes, water can be very destructive, hurtful and challenging. In these times, we also need to rediscover the still, restful waters God offers to us.
Maybe we won’t have the opportunity to hike near a quiet river like I did. Just still quietly in a well-worn chair and drink deeply a cold glass of water. Or pause a few seconds longer under the shower. Praise God for water and the stillness it can represent.
For restful and still waters, I am thankful.
When we are overwhelmed by the destruction of water, it is challenging to think we can take moments to seek You in a calm manner. I pray we find the stillness of water in our lives this day, if only for a moment. Amen.
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