Beside Still Waters (Day 1 from Beside Still Waters)
WE MOVED INTO OUR lake house in the Fall of 2013, it was so beautiful with all the colors of the season, the woods across the lake was vibrant in oranges, yellows, and just a touch of reds. The sun streaming down on the water from between the clouds created stairways from heaven. Being near the water has always been a place for me where the heavens seemed to touch the earth, a place where God and his creation came together in worship. I think this move meant more to me than to my husband, perhaps he even did it because he felt it was what I needed. There is a special attraction I have to the water, it’s where I feel closest to the Lord and draw inspiration. I was searching for a purpose in my life and needed a place of rest and restoration to find my way again. Financially it wasn’t a good decision, physically we were exhausted from the months of downsizing and the move itself took its toll on us. As I stood on the pier looking out over the water there was such a peaceful feeling that came over me, something I had not felt in a very long time. When I turned to walk back up to the house I stopped a minute just to look around me. Our yard is covered in trees, making the house look like it was set in the wood’s, we have seen deer and turkeys, not to mention the flocks of geese and other waterfowl that lived on the lake and the abundance of birds and small animals; this is our little piece of heaven on earth. Later that evening we went out on the lake for the first time, I was in awe at the beauty God had created; because this is a natural ecosystem lake for fishing and habitat for local, as well as migrating waterfowl, its natural beauty has not been disturbed. I could feel the gentle rhythm of the boat as it glided through the water; it reminded me of when I would rock my grandchildren to sleep, with each roll of the boat over the water I felt the stress being washed away. Because of all the trees, it’s really hard to see the sunrises or sunsets without being out on the water, but this night was different. When I went to the window I was amazed, the water was a beautiful shade of gold, and I was instantly reminded of the streets of gold that await us in our heavenly home. I knew it would take time, but I truly felt in my heart, God had led us here and that I would find the restoration I desperately needed.
I want to take you to the book of Job; do you remember the conversation between God and Satan concerning Job? God had said he was blameless and upright, “a man who feared God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8, NIV) Satan then accuses God of protecting him and all he had, then says, “But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (vs.11); to that God replied, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man, himself do not lay a finger” (vs. 12). What I want you to realize is there is a spiritual battle going on for your soul. For the last several years I had been in such a battle. I KNEW the word of God and I KNEW I wasn’t alone, even though I could not feel his presence or hear his voice. I can’t even imagine how Job stood in spite of all Satan put him through, he lost everything. But I do know how he came through the test of fire; verse 22 tells us “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” The only certainty I had the last five years was in the word I had hidden in my heart; it was my only light in a very dark and empty place. As the light began to repel the darkness, the feeling of emptiness, that had held me captive for so long, loosened its hold on me. My faith was shaken, my trust was badly beaten, my self-esteem was all but gone, but I had not lost faith in God. Yes it’s true I had questioned God, but not to accuse Him of wrongdoing, but in trying to understand. You see God knew my heart and my desire to serve him. My questioning did not come from doubting Him or His ways but from doubting myself and my ability to hear His voice and follow Him. God had a purpose in my life but I was never going to be able to fulfill it until I could reestablish the communication we once shared. Now let’s take a look at the last chapter of Job 24: 12 says, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.” My husband and I were entering the latter years of our lives, the lake house was our retirement home, and when I look out at our beautiful piece of heaven I truly felt blessed; I knew I had found my place of rest and restoration. I had to learn to trust myself again.