Beside Still Waters (Day 2 from Beside Still Waters)
Do you remember the waters that originated from the temple in Ezekiel 47, when Ezekiel was first led into the water it came up to his ankles, and then he was led further until it came to his knees? Each time he was taken out a little further until the water was deep enough for Ezekiel to swim. Over the next several months that was what the Lord did with me. During times of rest, I learned the lessons of waiting and being still before the Lord, not allowing my mind to wander but to meditate on His word and who I was in Christ. Isaiah 30:15 tells us, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, and in quietness and trust is your strength . . .” (NIV). I spent a long time at the edge of the water that falls allowing His peace to wash over me. The sounds of the birds overhead were once again music to my ears, even the night songs of the frogs brought a sense of joy. I loved to walk around the yard when the wind was blowing just strong enough for the leaves to come down like a gentle rain. When I was a little girl I loved to lie on the hill at my Grandmas's and look up into the clouds to see what images I could find. The little girl in me still does, but I’ve learned that when you look up into the trees it’s like looking into a big puzzle with surprising shapes and images. Today as I stood staring up into the canopy of colored leaves it was images of my childhood that came to mind. Whenever we came home on vacation we got to spend a lot of time with our Grandma; on Sunday when we went to church my sister and I got to sit in on her Sunday school class. Today I was remembering a flannel graft about a man named Zacchaeus who climbed up into a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, the account is found in Luke 19: 1-10. In verse 5 we see that it was Jesus took the initiative by speaking to Zacchaeus, telling him to come down that He must stay at his house; by doing so, according to the Jewish customs at the time, showed that Jesus accepted Zacchaeus even though he was a tax collector and viewed by the Jewish people as a sinner. Zacchaeus' response revealed to Jesus that he had a heart of faith that was seeking restoration. The encounter between the two shows Jesus fulfilling what the nation had failed to do, become a shepherd to the lost sheep of Israel; “Today salvation has come to this house . . . For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (verse 10, NIV). As I had said the past several years had brought many challenges to our family and had driven us apart. Tears began to roll down my face as I remembered another promise of salvation that the Lord had given me years before, “Belief in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31, NIV). I knew in my heart God was answering my prayers and my family was going to be restored. I took His words instantly and hid them in my heart where I knew they would be safe, and smiled as I once again looked up into the canopy of fall leaves; the warmth of the autumn sun filtering down began to dry my tears.
As fall turned into winter and I was reestablishing, to myself, who I was in Christ; I began to hear the softness of His voice through the beauty of His creation that was all around me. The glistening of fresh snow over the frozen lake whispering praises to their creator, and the love song being sung by the lake as it freezes, which always reminded me of the song of the whales, was the last sound I heard before going to sleep. Did you know that the male humpback whales song has a structure similar to melodies and rhythms? A scientist has also discovered that the humpback’s song evolves over time as the pods listen to each other thus creating sort of a musical coda. One evening when I was listening to the song of the lake the Lord reminded me of when I was so despondent that all I could do was cry myself to sleep. Romans 8: 26-27 tells us, “. . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” The relationship we have with the Holy Spirit is one in which He becomes so connected to us that He feels all our emotions and the depth of our pain. It was the Holy Spirit, as my Comforter, that held me as I cried myself to sleep, uttering unspoken prayers on my behalf to my God that had said He would never leave me nor forsake me. Our first winter at the lake was about over, it had been a hard one, but my spirit felt like I was awakening from a long sleep.
As the weeks went by spring turned the corner and the long days of summer were upon us. The Lord continued to lead me deeper into the waters of restoration until I was fully immersed in His presence. We had gotten the boats ready for a summer of fishing and now it was time for our first trip of the season. We gathered up our fishing gear and headed for the water; with our little dog, Avery, following close behind. I can lose myself when we’re out in the boat; having a good time rather I’m catching anything or not, but between you and me I rather am catching. Our lake is known for great pan fishing; bluegill, crappie, red-ear, and perch; they also hold several bass tournaments through the season. One afternoon about 3:30 pm I got tired of waiting on my husband to take me out, so I decided to fish off our pier, the bluegill was on the nest and I got 88 that weekend; oh did they taste good! I laugh to myself every time we are out and one of us is catching on one side of the boat and on the other side—nothing. It always reminds me of when Jesus asked Peter to take the boat out into the deep waters of the Sea of Galilee; Peter’s response being, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5, NKJV). You need to understand Peter was a fisherman, and as he had said they had been out all night and caught nothing, they were tired and those who had been fishing with him had cleaned the nets while Peter and Jesus were in the boat just offshore as Jesus was teaching the multitude listening onshore. Peter address Jesus as Master, there are seven nouns for the word Master in the New Testament, the meaning of the word Peter used identifies Him as having authority rather than instruction. Jesus recognized the fact that Peter knew how to catch fish, and I just love Peter's response, “Master, I recognize your authority, therefore at your word I will let down the net.” They caught so many fish that the net began to break and he had to signal for help, and when help came both boats were filled with fish to the point of nearly sinking! When the boats reached shore Jesus called the four men to be his disciples telling them that from that day forward they would be fishers of men.