We Must be Watchful (Day 1 from Beside Still Waters)
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong."
1Corinthians 16:13 NJKV
I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED the natural beauty of the lake we live on, it is considered a clear water shallow lake with a mucky bottom, it consisting of 168 acres, most of which is in its length. The shallowness of the lake allows for extensive plant life with rooted aquatic plants which form a ring around the lake with one contiguous plant bed that covers 94% of the lake’s surface. There are 38 species of plant life, boarding our bay on the east is a large floating island of cattails, where the Canadian geese like to build their nests in the spring, that is boarded by water lilies. The beauty and tranquility of living here is like no other place I know, I call it my little corner of heaven on earth. Claude Monet was a French impressionist who painted a series of approximately 250 paintings of water lilies from his garden at his home. When I look around the lake I can understand his fascination with them, because when the flowering plants are in bloom it is a beautiful sight to behold. White water lilies cover much of the surface of the lake and when the wind blows it reveals the purplish red underside, their white flowers can be seen from June to August, however the lifespan of a single flower is about four days and usually blooms from morning to noon; blended all through them is the yellow water lily, often called spatterdock, and blooms till September. When the flower dies a green bottle-shaped fruit remains which contain numerous seeds that are dispersed by water currents. Though the flowers of both spices are beautiful their combined foliage spreads across the lake like a green blanket. One of my favorites for its flower is the purple loosestrife, it is an invasive plant and not well liked by property owners, but it has the most beautiful magenta flower that can be seen in July and continues thru October. I love to look out on the water and see the splashes’ of purple shinning across the lake as the sun enhances its coloring. I think at one time or the other I pulled up, with my fish or the boat anchor, every one of the 38 species! As beautiful as the plant life can be I have noticed a trend that concerns me, in spites of the yearly spraying, it appears to be the open water surface is shrinking. I first notice it in our bay as the surface plants are extending their reach farther out from the island and creeping in closer to the shoreline and even into the center out from our pier; as well as the channel leading out into the lake has gotten narrower.
One afternoon while we were fishing I felt as if the Lord was telling me something, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38 NKJV). This wasn’t the first time the Lord had placed a scripture in my spirit when I was out on the water; for the time being, I continued to fish, but his message remained in the back of my mind. We stayed out for several hours, but I must admit I was distracted as my mind kept returning to the scripture. At the end of the day as things settled down I read all the background versus that pertained to Mark 14:38, at that moment in time the disciples were facing their greatest temptation; were they going to allow their fears to cause them to deny Christ. Deep in thought I looked out over the lake and saw the water lily beds begin to grow at a rapped pace until they all but consumed our bay, that image was so real I had to rub my eyes before I dared to look again. When I opened my eyes the image was gone and our bay was as it had been. It was then that I realized what the Lord wanted me to see. The word “watch” is often meant in a metaphorical and spiritual sense it means to be vigilant and on guard, fully awake, aware, alert and intently focused; the biblical command to watch is often accompanied by the prayer: in this scripture both meanings apply, Jesus was indeed telling his disciples to stay awake because he found them sleeping, however, the spiritual application is calling us to be watchmen.