Quiet Waters

When we are walking through difficult seasons we often conjure up images from Psalm 23 and cry out to God: “…lead me beside quiet waters!”  Serenity is the goal when life is filled with busy-ness, chaos, striving, and conflict. These things have inertia and it is difficult to run at 100 miles an hour and downshift to 15.  I have found that, when God leads me to quiet waters and gives me rest, my mind is still pacing, I am unnecessarily battle-ready, and don’t know what to do. Think of those in the military who come off deployment and have to re-acclimate to civilian life. It takes time to adjust and to re-engage in “normal” life.

Over the last few years God has taken me through a challenging season and now He has stilled me. I am able to focus on 4 things instead of 40. I am not sure how often you get seasons like this but want to rest well while I am here. I do not want fill my life back up with empty things-to-do nor do I want to become idle and lazy in the midst of the calm. So, I asked God, “what do You want me to do?” My mind was drawn to a book I read years ago by Bruce Wilkinson called The Dream Giver. Wilkinson wasn’t writing a fine piece of biblical exegesis but a beautiful parable that maps out the journey of faith for those who follow Jesus.

In chapter 5 the protagonist gets out of the barren “WasteLands” (which are never a waste by the way), the “Dream Giver” brings him into the “Sanctuary.” Wilkinson writes:

“Come to the water, he heard the Dream Giver say.
Ahead of him in the clearing he saw a small waterfall that fed a pool of still waters. He walked to the edge, then slipped into the purest water he had ever seen. He floated and splashed, sending diamonds of light spraying through the air
Time passed. But it didn’t seem to pass at all.
When (he) emerged from the pool, the last traces of the WasteLand had been washed away.” [1]

We often take remnants of the Wasteland (the dirt of frustration/bitterness, the thistles of bad habits, the sunburn of anger, the pride, striving, doubt, cynicism, arrogance, etc, etc, etc…) and we bring it out with us when we leave.  God invites us all into His quiet streams to listen, to rest, to heal, and to be washed clean of everything that doesn’t come from Him. Shedding these things can only happen when God brings your awareness to the wounds, to the walls you’ve put up, and to the sins you’ve committed so that you can heal, tear walls down, and confess. I have been asking God to speak to me and surface the things He sees that I don’t. This has been difficult but restorative work to do.

Embracing a season of “quiet streams” means sitting in the pools of God’s word and allowing it to wash over us.   2 Timothy 3 says the scripture is useful for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” It’s hard to believe that moving forward means stopping and listening but God’s word is so powerful and pure.

There is an art to accepting the Quiet Streams that is both difficult and therapeutic but worth every part it has to offer because, when you do emerge, you are cleansed from the remnants of desert with a renewed spirit, a fortified strength, and the wisdom of the WasteLands to continue into the next leg of the journey.

[1] Bruce Wilkinson. The Dream Giver: Following Your God Given Destiny (Multnoma, Colorado Springs, CO ). Page 43.
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