Like The Nile

I was sitting outside in an old, falling apart wooden rocking chair.  I had arranged myself in the sun to avoid a chill as I sipped coffee and watched my youngest draw sidewalk chalk hearts.  Her art was elaborate.  In between sips I spelled out Valentines Day and Love. Periodically I closed my eyes so I could feel the sun on my face and breathe in fully this life of mine.

It’s something else.  Something other than what it was.  A million times more than it was going to be.

I don’t think about the way things were all that often anymore but I’m thankful for the days I do.

Now I sit in the quiet of my kitchen and Moses comes to my mind.  I think about his staff. I think about God instructing Moses and Aaron to strike the Nile with it and how all the water in Egypt turned into blood.

I remember God’s power.  I remember how doing what He says for me to do clears the way for one thing to become another.

See, Creator took my ugly, broken marriage…took hold of two very broken people…and turned us into something else.  It certainly took more than one strike of the staff to the Nile.  It took many strikes.  Many years.  Much chipping away.

Yet my name calling, clothes on the porch, door slamming, screaming, family counseling, altogether dysfunctional marriage, like the Nile, was transformed into something else.

We were adversaries and now he’s my best friend.
We brought each other so much pain and angst and now he’s my comfort.
We doubted and feared one another and now I rest in his leadership.

Don’t misunderstand me.  We don’t live in a pretend la-la fairy land of marital bliss.  We get annoyed, disagree and argue.  But we are on the same team now and that brings us to peace.  We learned, after uncatalogued hours, when to walk away.  We learned to come back soon.

Statistically, my family should not be intact.  Everyone has a story and their experiences of pain.  But while the sun warmed my face I remembered my story, our story, is actually one of perseverance.

And one of glass-chewing obedience.

I believe God tells us in His word many things about what kind of living pleases Him.  I believe a lot of issues are black and white.  But here is the thing…people are all shades of gray.  Thankfully we have a Father who knows our frailty, understands our pathos, extends mercy and grace when we don’t even know yet we need it.

So in the middle of our greatest struggle…our face to face with Pharaoh…Creator reminds us of His word and instructs our next step.

Raise your staff and strike the Nile, he says

It might translate something like this…

Ask for forgiveness…Offer forgiveness…forgive yourself…give away your time…give away your money…submit yourself…humble yourself…trust Me for your worth…let go of the past…stop grasping for things…stop grasping at people…put others first…slow down…come here to Me…believe Me…don’t give up…stop judging others…do not fear judgment…be brave…rest…move on…

As we experience the faithfulness and power of God in our lives it makes us braver to strike the Nile again and again, however many times it takes and however it may look.

The sun filters through my blinds now as I remember.  Following Jesus, imperfectly attempting to obey Him, felt like walking on fire.  Goodness how it broke down my pride. Every notion I had about my rights.  Every idea I had about what was fair. Every demand I wanted to make.  Everything ounce of self-pity and every last temptation to be a victim.

Jesus whispered against my heart as I cried out to Him.  He gave me the grace to do what I could never in a million years have done on my own.  I laid my deepest longings for love, my deepest need for nurture, my broken hopes for wholeness on His altar.  Not because I was strong or extra pious or good.

Because Creator was my only hope.

I was desperate for a miracle.  I was desperate for this life I had to be transformed.

What could have ever convinced me that Jesus would come through?  That surrender would work?

His nearness in my life.  His presence.  Love and grace so profoundly real to me.  Jesus ruined me in the best of ways. I now live certain, regardless of my ups and downs, that nothing and no one can out-do Him.

Perhaps today you are standing by the Nile.  Perhaps you are facing Pharaoh.  Perhaps you need the seemingly impossible to take place in your life.  May I encourage you?

Strike the Nile.

Listen and wait for His nudge against your heart…seek His direction…and trust Him enough to do it His way.

Nothing is impossible with God.

So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them.  As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile.  Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood.  Exodus 7:20 (New Living Trans.)

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