WHEN THE RIVER CAME
Merry Monday – Parris Bailey
“There is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God.” Ps.46:4
Twenty years ago, Frank and I stepped into an unbelievable river- the river of God. We were like those that dream. I still remember hearing The Lord say to me, that “my religion would not sustain me for the years to come” (something that I didn’t really want to hear). I started the long trek into the bottom of the river where He began to change me from the inside out. It is not pleasant when you have to take a long look at yourself and your belief system. It was time for me to rekindle my first love. Marriage, raising all those wonderful kids of mine, and pastoring had caused me to drift from my source. I found myself full of dead works and a hardened heart. Spurgeon says, “Believers drink of that river and thirst not for carnal delights. They are made “to lie down in green pastures,” and are led “beside the still waters.” Now this solid, lasting joy and peace of mind sets the Christian so on high above all others, that I boldly testify that there are no people in the world to compare with him for happiness. But do not suppose that our joy never rises above this settled calm; for let me tell you, and I speak experimentally, we have our seasons of rapturous delight and overflowing bliss. There are times with us when no music could equal the melody of our heart’s sweet hymn of joy. It would empty earth’s coffers of every farthing of her joy to buy a single ounce of our delight. Do not fancy Paul was the only man who could say, “Whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth,” for these ecstasies are usual with believers; with their sunshiny days when their unbelief is shaken off and their faith is strong.”
I began a life long quest to have God “become my all in all” and I was determined to let nothing “separate me from the love of God”. As I reflect back on the twenty years of river walking I am thankful that He brought me back to my first love and put an unspeakable joy into my heart. Many times circumstances come my way (Hurricane Katrina, death of a love one, family problems and the care of the church) and weigh on my mind. THERE IS A RIVER that is always before me and it’s up to me to take the dip into His presence and drink again. He told us if we drink of Him, “out of our belly shall flow rivers of living water springing up into everlasting life”. Have you found this river my friend? Have you continued drinking of Him or have you gone back into dead works? He beckons us to enjoy His beauty, partake the communion of His presence. The cares of this world aren’t worth it, HIS PRESENCE IS EVERYTHING. THERE IS A RIVER!