Devotional: God in the Stream
I love how God speaks through His creation. Nature has always been a meeting place of God’s presence for me when I could not find it in church, or people, or even at home in my little ‘devotional nook’. And yes, while we understand His dwelling place is everywhere, we sometimes have a hard time finding our hearts quiet enough to meet Him there amongst the demands of community, family and even our own niggling thoughts.
Growing up in the green mountains of Vermont, it was not uncommon for my friends and I to explore local forests or parks near our home. We would dodge through the trees playing hide and seek and as I grew older, we would have mini picnic meetings by the stream. How I loved the stream! The water was a calm, clear flow running over polished stones. It was quiet. I would have deep moments of prayer by that stream. It was a place where I could show emotion, speak my heart aloud and listen – because all I could hear was the trickling of the stream and God.
One day as I was looking into the water I noticed something. The water was so clear I could see in fine detail the stones and sand and polliwogs living within the stream, but if I shifted my focus all of that blurred and I could see in fine detail my reflection. It was very difficult to focus on both. To really enjoy the scene below the surface, I had to let go of focusing completely on myself. That was a moment when God spoke.
Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”
When our soul is sick or burdened, we are told to take the time to stop and evaluate the root of it. However, when we reflect on ourselves, we can very quickly humanize that intention, responding in our limited carnal thinking rather than trusting fully in God’s limitless capability. Scripture teaches us heart-meditation is important because out of our hearts flow our words and thoughts and actions and our desires. It is so easy to try to understand the root of our problem by asking “what can I do to be liked? To belong? To be seen by others? How can I show off my gifts or talents more? How would God want me to fix this problem?” We become so busy trying to find our own solutions in ‘prayer’, that we don’t actually seek God’s response in these matters.
God wants us to rest in Him. He wants us to see His bigger picture when we meditate, and to do that we have to push past making our reflection time solely about OUR reflection. There is more to be seen in our soul-hurting moments than just ourselves; God has more for us just below the surface. A beautiful understanding of this is found in Psalm 23 where it states, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” He, and He alone, will restore our soul – no matter what it is we are going through, or whatever it is we really need. Only if we learn to move past our own image of what ought to be will we see God in the deeper things of what will be when we seek Him with all of our heart.