The daily grind had worn me thin when I went to the river for reprieve. There’s something about flowing water that opens my heart to encounter the Living Water I so desperately crave. My soul was thirsty, and I went with hopes that I might be filled.
Driving down the winding road that leads to the river, the towering conifers seemed to shroud me with welcoming arms. Billowy cumulous clouds drifted lazily overhead – gentle reminders to slow down and bask beneath cobalt skies. I pressed forward with the assurance that my husband and children were playing happily in the backyard, dinner simmered in the crock-pot, and the to-do list could wait for another day.
After parking in a vacant gravel lot at the riverside, I walked three miles upstream, following the gentle curves of the emerald water and offering short prayers about fleeting concerns. My body longed to keep in the rhythm of hurrying that drives most of my days, but I forced myself to linger long over trillium sprouting from black earth and skunk cabbage blanketing swampy bogs along the trail.
I finally settled on a flat rock overlooking the water, lying flat against its warmth and breathing in the scent of the river. It smelled alive, earthy, and like an old friend who offered no false pretenses. I considered my own life and the invitation to rest on this rock in all my uncensored vulnerability – no one to impress, no need to be anyone other than my weary self.
I rested unguarded beneath the tender gaze of my heavenly Father.
“Lord,” I prayed, “you know how desperately I crave refreshment today. You know that my pace has been too hurried, my focus has been too scattered, and my parenting has been characterized by too many sharp demands and impatient moments. I so often forget to enjoy my life, my children, and the quiet ministries to which you have called me.”
I waited in the silence, lapping waves caressing the shoreline in nature’s melody.
I waited for a remarkable revelation or an undeniable sense that God’s love was with me. While I know He loves me – while I know it was proven once and for all at the cross – I often find myself asking for a reminder. I want to feel something in my heart, drink it in like water, and encounter God in a new way.
When no tangible sense of His love and truth overtook me, I sat on the rock and pulled my worn Bible from my backpack. The bookmark led me to an unexpected book, and I read the words at the top of the page: I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:12)
In the stillness, the Lord spoke to my heart through a soft impression, and a question came to mind: Do I really treasure these words more than my necessary food?
My mind traced past footsteps to the dozens of worldly comforts that seem to be my treasure far more often than the Word of God: snacks in the evenings, home decorating magazines during nap time, conversations with friends, Netflix, online house hunting, and more. Even in this moment, I found myself alone on a riverbank waiting for a fresh Word from the sky. But God has provided the richest nourishment and comfort I could ever imagine through the words of Scripture.
I was reminded that when I crave reprieve, refreshment, and fulfillment, I don’t need to wait for a sunny day along a river. I don’t need to seek to “hear” from God in a new way. He has given me all I need for life and godliness in the pages of the Bible.
I read for hours on the rock. The words breathed fresh life into my soul in a way that the river never could. I memorized psalms and lingered over words about the trees and sky.
I found myself captivated by the beauty of his Love Letter, and I left the river filled to the brim.
The invitation awaits each one of us. When we are weary and burdened, He invites us to draw near through His Word, and His promise is that He will meet us in that place.