We watched the standing waves near the roots of a large Sycamore tree. The steady rain for a day had raised the water level and quickened the current. As I pointed to the the fast stretch of the river, I recalled the time a friend was in a kayak and grabbed a root to steady the small craft. The root is fixed and the kayak was not, so he promptly rolled over. In another instance with friends, one over-confident paddler was not paying attention to where she was pointed. A quick flowing section of the river turned her canoe to face up river, so she went through the next rapid backwards. Another paddler on a quick stretch figured he had to paddle fast, but could not avoid an obstacle because he could not maneuver while going that rapidly.
A flowing river is like the Holy Spirit. Jesus says His sheep know His voice, so a believer can have confidence and an expectation to hear His voice, receive instruction, or exhortation, or correction as needed. But, it takes some time to learn. We have to stay in that river. We cannot rest in our own wisdom to follow Him. Sometimes we grab something that seems firm other than the Spirit of the Lord. We capsize, having held onto something we should not. The river was flowing; the root was not. Other times we are just self confident. “We can do this,” we say, and promptly get turned in the wrong direction while going down the river backwards. That is when accidents happen. Then there are times we just want to get somewhere. Being impatient with the steady current, we start adding a lot of self-initiated effort. While going too fast, we approach an obstacle and cannot avoid the danger. We capsize.
A worldly person knows nothing of God’s direction, and must rely on self wisdom and confidence. The Bible says that person cannot see the Kingdom of heaven. But once having committed our lives to God, we are expected to learn of Him. The Holy Spirit was sent to help us. What does it take with the examples that have been given? A deliberate listening heart that is not self confident but confident in God’s ability and direction. It includes not getting distracted with something other than the river of the Spirit. All these are part of moving with God successfully. And, if you capsize, repent, right the boat, get in, and keep going. The river waits.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall [direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13
…And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17
(passages from the New King James Version)