The River

Once my bare feet appeared on the cool marble of Your sanctuary hall, I breathed in deep. Releasing my fears and all that burdens me escapes through one trusting sigh. Gratitude welcomes joy, reverence, and passion to leap in and cram my heart. The towering walls are cloaked with the scene of Your infinite universe, yet I can discern its narrowness, demanding a definite regard for what settles here in this place. The stone walkway seems to travel forever as it fades into the decorated cosmos, and all of gravity's tug pulls me forward.

All of my strengths effort is in placing one foot in front of the other. Knowing that I am just a human progressing forward in His holy inhabitation sends an overpowering shudder in and out of my body. And this is just His hallway. I walk further into this beautiful and majestic realm, and the closer I come, the more my heart drums and heaves with emotions too heavy to bear. "I am on my way to seeing Him. He is too awesome to behold. He is righteous and worthy to be feared… how could I ever gaze into Him? How will I be able to withstand our meeting? My strength is only weakness, how can one survive this? He is strong and compassionate beyond my limited comprehension. He is lovely. He is so lovely. I never knew such a powerful kindness like the one I find in Him. He is just. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is holy. How can I look at Him? How will I not fall dead just in approaching Him?"

My mind pours a continuous account of His character and my heart releases a confirming wave, crashing down at the sound of His name. I have a constant struggle between the strongest desire to leap into Him and the aching intimation of His power; yet both seem necessary. A message signals in me to remember that He was the one who invited me. Another deep breath. I find some overlaying relief, and a caring strength, even though my mortally concerns still threaten me. My faith heightens as my feet trail further, not knowing when my purpose will finally stall me. A few more steps, and suddenly the darkness buries my consciousness in another place, a memory.

Warmth settles me. My eyes lift tenderly to take in all the brilliance. The first color delighting me is green. I am sitting in the middle of meadow, placed on soft grass. My eyes avert to the sky and the stunning light gracefully yields to expose a royal blue stretch populated with powerful clouds, all stacked upon each other as if they were in their proper positions. A rhythmic purr would blow upon the blades of the field, and they would give back by reflecting the sun that fed them. I wanted to stay there as long as I could, but it was never up to me.

After taking in all the beauty here, the heat slowly intensified, and I began to thirst. The sun assaulted my back with heat would not relent, so I got up in search of some means of refreshment. The earth and all it offered quickly became a luxury to me as I fell into great need. My heart knocked softly on my chest until it beckoned more impatiently. Painful burdens were at its door. The light that once entertained me eased behind in sympathy, encouraging me to find comfort. I didn't know what to do but run, in the hopes to stumble upon anything. My senses turned from the peace I enjoyed to face an onslaught of exhaustion, panting, and the pounding of my heart. It seemed senseless to run for anything in such a wide plain with no markings, but my feet put forth a desperate intention when my will would have rather been laid to rest.

Finally I reached a new terrain, a long bed of smooth rocks that turned out of my sight into more grass. I was in great amazement to have found a River. I heard the beginning of soft water trickle up and over each stone in its way. I wish it were a rushing river that I could fully plunge into, but I knew to wait. My knees buckled and I collapsed on them. My hands steadied themselves on the rocks as water slid between my fingers. I braced myself and faced the sky again, the sun no longer attacking my flesh. Waiting became a beautiful sound, just as it did before, when I first arrived here. Sounds cooed in; sounds of the breeze, and sounds of the water.

The trickling stream matured as it grew into a hurried flow. It was now reaching my waist as I continued waiting on my knees. The pressure of the River surged against my heart, awakening the very reason why I was here. All the oppression that pounded on my heart insulted even more frantically. This is the place. This is where I let go. So that's what I did… I let go. My heart opened its door, and as the River passed me, it flowed through and washed it all away.

The River gained more and more power as it added upon itself and became one single tide. My knees picked up from the rocks and I drifted off to float abandoned along with the current. The water ran anxiously in its purpose, knowing it was responsible for me as its guest.

The flow slowed again, and quieted itself, becoming a pure slate that moved more beneath than on its surface. Mostly unaware of my state of being, I did notice a stir in the sky again. The light huddled next to the sun beaming a hushed enthusiasm, while the clouds tried to force in between. The River slowed to silence and my body at last stopped and rested against what seemed like a deeply rooted tree. Water continued to flow past as my venture downstream was interrupted.

The light that was above me had rapidly spread over me. I heard a deep muffled sound. I heard it again. This time the sound sent a gentle electric force that sat upon the water and sailed off. Again, the sound came, creating a jolting static, piercing the water that activated my heart. The deep tone sounded yet again, and it blurred in and out from sound to syllable. My mind made a mad dash connection and forced me to recognize that what I was hearing was my name.

Before I could comprehend what was taking place, two arms dove into the water and braced around and beneath me. As He pulled me to Himself, the weight of water that filled my clothing poured back into the River. He spoke my name again, and I looked at Him, knowing that He would find me, and loving Him for it. He took me in His sigh, relieved that He had kept me. I was wearied beyond my control. So I burrowed into His chest as He turned from the River to carry me home.

Darkness again. I feel the cool touch of marble under my feet. My eyes open to see the end of the walkway, and at the end of the walkway, a throne. My heart recognizes the silhouette of the One enthroned before my eyes do. His posture allows me the confidence to approach Him with the passion I have for Him. He knows my heart fears Him. It seems with each step I take towards Him, my soul wraps another heavy blanket of love for Him. It is so heavy on me that it amazes me I am even able to reach Him.

At the base of His throne He extends His right hand to me. Placing my hand in His weakens my knees, realizing who I am with, yet my steps are strengthened. He returns to sit on His throne but He sits in a way that shows I have His attention. With my hand in His, He raises my hand to kiss it. Feeling the portion of His love for me sent me to my knees again weeping at His feet. It must have been hours I sat with my arms rested on His knees, sobbing uncontrollably as tears ran down to His feet. When I could no longer cry, I took His warm and humble feet in my hands and onto my lap. I was in such deep wonder over the scars in His feet, almost feeling the return of my tears. But my mind went to so many places as I studied His scars. I finally felt ready to tell Him my heart again, to entrust Him with my cares by my surrendered will. I looked up into His fatherly face, very aware of the lump in my throat that made it nearly impossible to speak… and He held my hand and welcomed every word.

"My Father, I remember all the days You saved me. By recounting all my scars, I remember Your every rescue. I am so glad You brought me here so I could personally thank You. I wish I could say how much I love You over and over. By the time I say it once, I feel too much time has passed before I am compelled to say it again. I am satisfied with You, and sitting here worshiping You is my most prized possession… my time here with You.

Jesus, I trust my life with You. I am content with whatever You place before me. Your eyes showed me that You know my beginning and end, so how could I ever look into Your eyes and question You? Anything that threatens my understanding must bow down before the trust I have in You. There is no other way.

I love how You have guarded my eyes, also for how much I love Your purity. My eyes can't remain on what is not You. I have seen masquerades of You, but Your discernment guides me to Your truth. By Your leading, I am not deceived.

I also love to observe Your ways. I love to watch You in all that You do. No earthly thing can compete for my hearts desire. My desire abides loyally in loving Your commands. I want to fill my purpose by doing what pleases You. I am after Your righteousness, so that I may always have these moments with You. I cannot bear to be far from You, ever.

One more thing… I have watched You from when You first called me and have fallen in love with You more and more. You are a lot of beautiful and terrible things, but the most powerful of them all is Your love. I have witnessed it in all that You are. All Your commandments are drenched with Your love. Therefore I have purposed it in my heart… if I am going to be aggressive in anything, it will be in Your love.

Let me be one of Yours, forever. There is nothing greater. I don't have to walk the whole earth to find this out. Your feet have already walked places I don't need to go and to places where I don't belong. I refuse to accept anything that fogs my sight of You. Protect me and keep me. You are the only one that can. I trust You and I love You."

His heart kept all that I gave Him, and He allowed me to stay even longer. He taught me how simple it was to follow Him. The burdens that were added were not of Him. He also taught me the only way to walk through the gates of righteousness was by having eyes only for Him and by worshiping Him, by understanding who He is. He warned me to let no one rip love from my eyes, to guard it with all I am.

After being with Him again, I gained an immovable confidence that He will strengthen me for the road ahead.~