It’s 5:20 am on Saturday morning in Cambodia and I am wide awake. I have been awake since around 4am when some nice little ant-like critters decided to take up residence in my bed and just bite me over and over again, so I abandoned any ideas of more sleep and got up. After a nice cold shower (because apparently hot showers aren’t a thing in some parts of Cambodia) I now find myself sitting in my room with some time on my hands. So I have my worship music playing softly in the background while I gather my thoughts on the last few days.
It has been amazing so far, as always. It hasn’t been as heartbreaking this time but there is still five more days to go and anything can happen. But the pace hasn’t been too crazy and I have found myself with some time up my sleeve to rest. For those that know me, I don’t sit still for too long, so when I was given two free time to rest the other day, I made the most of it and went for a run, because we all know that running is the same as resting.
As I ran along the Mekong River, I stopped to catch my breath for a bit (I am not as fit as I like to imagine myself to be!) I found myself standing on the edge just looking down at the water flowing. It was flowing fast. Real fast. You can’t really see it in the photo above, but the water was moving at a pretty rapid speed. As I stood there, a verse from my favourite psalm came to mind, which says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still quiet waters” (psalm 23:2). As I reflected on that verse, still watching the water, I felt the truth of those words because God has led me beside still waters. He has also led me to rapid flowing rivers and angry seas.
There have been some glorious moments of peace and rest that I have encountered at the hands of Jesus. Moments where my heart was so full and my soul was singing. I love those moment and seek more of them. There has, however been just as many moments where He led me straight to the raging ocean and I found myself standing on the edge, wanting with everything in me to run in the opposite direction. There has been times where I have stood on the banks of the river watching the water flowing so rapidly that I was certain if I crossed I wouldn’t make it to the other side. In those moments, I want nothing more than to run, but I realise in those moments how much I can’t do this life thing in my own strength. It’s in those moments when I am staring at the raging waters that I realise how much I need God, and I realise why He bought me to that point; to lean on Him. To rest in the shadow of His strength and grace and peace.
God never promised us a smooth ride. I myself, along with countless others who walk with Christ, can testify to that. But what God did promise us is that He would never leave us or forsake us. He promised to be there until the very end, walking with us every step of the way. He goes before us and parts the waters so that we can pass, though we don’t always see it. He creates a light in the darkness so that we can see. He provides a peace that transcends all understanding. And that, the peace, comfort and provision, is something I can certainly testify to because I have encountered it over and over and over. I have felt His peace in the midst of the storm and have rested in HIs comfort.
In as much as I enjoy resting beside still waters, I appreciate the times when I am on the shores of a raging sea. I appreciate the lesson it teaches me but more than that, I appreciate His presence in those times. I appreciate the gentle voice that tells me to step out; to not fear the raging water because I am secure in the palm of my Father’s hand. I appreciate those moments because every time I step out in faith, life takes the most amazing turn and I find myself doing things I never imagined. I find myself in situations that I never thought I’d be in and my heart just soars.
Walking with Christ is interesting and unpredictable and crazy and has taken me on a path I never ever imagined. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Regardless of the number of rapidly flowing rivers I will need to cross, I would not want any other life. I am confident that I will make this walk to the very end not because of who I am but because of who HE is. I know that may not make sense to some and that’s okay, it doesn’t make sense to me half the time, but it is the life I have chosen. I have chosen to be a follower of Jesus and I will follow Him as far as He takes me. So I will step out into the raging waters again and again, and I will lie beside still waters, and I will continue this unpredictable journey as far it as it goes, because at the end of the day, who doesn’t want a bit of adventure!
Be blessed, peeps!