Today I stop and watch the river running through our yard, a dark ribbon lying on a silky white sheet. Don’t be overly impressed here. It’s really only a creek (someone more athletically-inclined could jump across it) but it is the north branch of the Little Wolf River. No matter how cold it gets, that little river never freezes over. It just keeps moving steadily along its course. When boulders and branches clutter the way, it alters its course to follow the path of least resistance, determined to reach its final destination. That river refuses to be stopped.
I wish I were more river-like in my walk with God. Life would be so much more peaceful if I moved steadily forward along the course He lays for me. If I adjusted when I met life’s obstacles, I could follow the path of least resistance to His purposes and His plan. I would refuse to get bogged down by my own agenda, keeping my final destination always in mind.
Truthfully, I’m more like that big, pink granite boulder parked in the middle of the river. At first glance, the rock looks strong. The river pushes against it but it does not budge. It is unwilling to be carried along by the current, and unable to escape its power. But day after day, week after week, year after year, the rock is subject to the water’s gentle wear. Slowly, almost unperceptively, the river smooths away the rock’s rough edges.
At first glance, I appear strong to some. It’s really just stubborn pride. So often I’m unwilling to budge. So, day after day, month after month, year after year, God gently surrounds me with His great power. He speaks to me through His Word and His world, through prayer and through people. Slowly, almost unperceptively, He wears away the rough edges. It is a painfully slow process.
The only thing more painful is not allowing God to wear on me at all. When I close my heart to Him I get desperately lonely. He is my closest confidant and my most trustworthy companion. I begin to miss God miserably. That misery is a great comfort to me. It reminds me I con be confident in this: “that He who began a good work in you (me, too) will be faithful to complete it.” (Philippians 1:6). That same misery is also God’s way of tenderly calling me back to a place of sweet fellowship. He is slowly, patiently conforming me to the image of His Son.
“For those He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)