The farm I grew up on had a river that flowed through the property. It was an old, meandering river at the bottom of a steep slope just behind our house. Normally a quiet flowing stream that we often would swim in on hot summer days and then, in the winter, push back the snow for an ice rink of sorts. It was great for tubing down on a lazy afternoon and for dropping a line into, hoping for that one that always seemed to get away…away from me anyway.
Each spring, with the thaw of the winter snows, the river would swell and overflow its banks becoming a rushing torrent. It would wind in and out of its ordinary boundaries eventually ignoring the rules all together, carving out new paths and leaving flotsam and jetsam strewn along the new banks and dammed up against age old trees. It was a wild and rushing raging river that was amazing to watch yet ominous and dangerous. As spring moved on it would slowly subside and resume its lazy path in and out, up and around the banks it was bound to.
That river was a comfort to me. Its seasons and moods often mirrored my own. I could be calm and lazy, drifting along to who cared where, other times I could be cold and hard, frozen over and invisible. There were also times when I was wild and rushing and lashing out at everything in my way trying to stem the tide and ebb the flow. Eventually I would go back to following the course laid out for me, realizing there is a reason for everything that happens and it all comes through the hands of a loving God for my benefit and his glory. Things haven’t changed too much – I can still be a moody stream but have become deeper and gentler as I’ve gotten older, like any river will.
You see, our rage against the plan does not change the destination…all rivers run down-hill and eventually to the ocean. In our struggle against the plan, we may tear apart a shoreline there or cut across the bend here or create a logjam in the gorge that we eventually spill over anyway. All our meanderings get us to the same place eventually – downstream. We’ve all been given a life to live with a plan and a purpose for us to follow, (Jeremiah 29:11) Whether we like it or not, there’s no jumping ahead or skipping that part or sulking on the shoreline. There is really only one way to go – with the flow.