Surrendering to the Flow

Kingdom of God, Prayer, Solitude, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth

Every so often when I am sitting in prayerful contemplation, an image captures my attention. Sometimes it is an actual object that I am physically looking at, like a cross on my desk or a bird in the sky or a tree branch blowing in the wind. Other times it is something I see in my mind’s eye.

And usually, as I reflect upon whatever it is, I can sense and receive what I understand to be thoughts, insights, and experiences from God himself.

These moments are not spooky and otherworldly. They occur naturally.

In these moments, I am not striving to “get a word from God.” I am simply choosing to be present to him. And as I am present to him, I seem to notice him more often.

God is everywhere. His presence fills the earth. And if we will simply slow down, turn aside, and notice, our entire day can be filled with unique interactions with him. Each and every day.

So one recent morning when I was in prayer, I was “sitting with Jesus” in a few moments of silence and stillness. And an image came to my mind.

I pictured a river. Not a huge river like the Mississippi. But also not a tiny creek. It was the kind of river you might find in a deep gorge in the middle of a national park somewhere. Perhaps 60-70 feet in width. I have rafted and canoed several times in similar locations.

The river in my imagination had a strong and steady flow. It was not in a rush. There were some twists and turns. Along its path were stones and boulders, some small, some massive. But the flow was continual and uninhibited. It was flowing with purpose.

For a few moments, I lingered in that scene. I listened to the sound of the water moving over the rocks. I felt its mist on my face.

And then this thought occurred to me. When you stand by a river, what captures your attention is not any particular droplet of water within the river. But it’s the river itself. Its movement and flow.

And as I was reflecting, I considered myself as a water droplet within the river. That’s what each of us are. Just a tiny, minuscule part of a much larger body of water moving in a singular direction.

God’s mission and movement upon the earth is like a river that is constantly flowing. The river’s flow does not originate with me or you or anyone else. It’s a river that has been flowing from the beginning of time itself, springing from God’s loving nature.

We cannot manufacture or engineer its flow. Nor can we control it, stop it, re-direct it, or manipulate it in any way. As water droplets, we are powerless to do so.

We can only simply choose to surrender and allow ourselves (our agendas, our wills, our desires) to be carried by its current.

As a tiny water droplet, I am not intended to stand out and be remembered or noticed. Those whose chief aim is to be remembered will be forgotten and dismayed.

Life is found in simply choosing to surrender and allowing oneself to be carried by the current of his mighty love. It’s a river that flows from one generation to the next, from one person to the next, until it reaches its ultimate destination.


(The painting is “Rapids on the Knife River” by Don Luce)

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