We have two couples we try to get together with every week or two to just sit quietly in God's presence for maybe a half-hour, each of us interacting with the Lord in whatever way we are most comfortable.... just communicating with Him.....listening to Him...responding to Him......yet together. At some point, the six of us then express what we have each experienced during that time.
Last time, my friend Roy told us a story he had seen in the Spirit about a fish....swimming up stream....taking a difficult journey to get to the place he knew he was to go. The story he had seen really grabbed my heart. For years I have looked at our lives here on earth as a journey.... sometimes a very difficult journey... some harrowing experiences... a few shipwrecks along the way... but each of us on our journey into God.
Let me tell you Roy's story. Jesus so often spoke in parables.... it helps to paint word pictures sometimes, to understand what the Lord is trying to communicate to us.
Let me name our fish Philip....he is having a really great time doing his fish thing there in Lake Memphramegog on the Canadian border by Newport, VT. There is this thing though that starts happening in Philip as he just enjoys swimming around in the big lake...that niggle in his heart, that pull, that call to begin the Journey... so he answers the bell that is ringing inside him and Philip heads over to the Willoughby River where he begins the upstream journey to beautiful Lake Willoughby.
Did you ever swim up river..... against the current? Not an easy task, even for a fish. It begins to get a little more dangerous though, because there is an enemy who also knows about the call that is being answered... an enemy who knows that the journey has begun for you and thousands of other fish.....and that enemy wants to catch you as you struggle upstream.
The enemy has sent his emissaries and they line the river with their fishing poles, their favorite, most attractive lures to seduce you from your goal to press on till you reach the falls...the final, most difficult and dangerous step before reaching the safety of Lake Willoughby.
Many of Philip's friends become attracted to all those colorful, bobbing lures lining both sides of the river...... and the journey ends for them. There are always casualties in the river of life.....but Philip will not be tempted and keeps struggling upstream....to the falls. These are not falls that you reach, just flop over and down you go to the safety of the Lake.... these are falls coming at you. spilling over from the Lake that you must now work very hard to get through...jumping, flipping, flopping every which way to propel yourself up each level of the falls.
The enemy is relentless...lures and fishing poles no longer work... but there are his fishermen again lining both sides of the falls, stepping into the water, grasping and clawing at you to take home their prize before you can reach the safety of the Lake. Philip sees some of his friends rest in pool and get snatched away....he determines not to make that mistake.
Philip finally makes it to the Lake..... it is huge..... beautiful.... serene.... peaceful..... Philip has entered into His rest. There is a place of peace in Him. Think about this for a bit....ask Him where you are in the journey up the river.
Tomorrow... I will try to explain a little more from my own personal journey up the river....and how I look at the journey.