That is what this river is.
I’ve swam in this river more times than I can count. Memories of my childhood are here. And now we are making memories with my children. We swim, we fish, we jump, we kayak, we float, we enjoy.
The water has always been crisp, refreshing, and clear. In most spots, you can see the rocks and plants that grow on the riverbed. You can see the fish small and large swimming by. This river, though it is a space in the “wild,” it still is a spot of serenity.
Do you have a place like that, a place of good memories, peace, and beauty? We love to come here to enjoy a simple vacation. I have heard it said, if you have your kids with you, you are not on vacation, but you are on a trip. I don’t disagree entirely with this statement. There some vacations or trips you take with your kiddos that when you return you feel like another vacation is needed. But I think that is why I like coming here so much. Even with my sweet boys, no vacation is required to recoup from our time spent here. That is how peaceful and tranquil our time is here.
But something happened that changed our perspective a bit. Brad and Collin (our middle) were fishing with their cousins, not just fishing with their poles but in the water fishing with just their hands and a net. They had been in and out of the water, just like we had been doing all day, and happened to be out when they spotted a water snake right below them. They were all safe at the moment. So, no big deal, right?
Physically everyone was okay. But mentally it was an eye-opener. Suddenly the safe and serene had become scary and surreal. Our place of peace had turned into a place of pause.
It was a snake. It shouldn’t be a big ordeal. But what happens now, is every time we step into that refreshing river our minds will remember that one snake. Our thoughts will tell us the entire river is now tainted, and we must never be at complete peace again. Our thoughts will convince us we shouldn’t swim here; we shouldn’t play here, we shouldn’t relax here anymore. Suddenly one snake has wreaked havoc on the peace and memories this place has brought to us.
How often is this true in our spiritual walk? The enemy shows up in the peaceful moment causing us to pause and often bring panic. Just like the belief, the entire river is no longer peaceful because of one snake; the enemy of our souls tries to convince us that one moment of disruption should cause us to not live in complete peace with our eyes always looking out for him and when he might reappear. And before we know it, our eyes are fixed on the enemy instead of fixed on Jesus, our peace.
We must be on guard because the enemy is real. He is here to steal, kill, and destroy, and that included you and me, our families, our marriages, our life. But we must be careful that all focus is not on the enemy. Our attention must be on Jesus. That is how we truly stand in a place of peace and a position of power. If our eyes are always trying to find the enemy in the vastness of life, we will grow weary and tired. If we fix our eyes on our Protector, we can move through this life with peace even when we know there is an enemy swimming in the waters.
Do you ever focus on the problem more than the Perfecter? Identify these moments and surrender them to Christ, moving yourself to your rightful place of peace and power, through Him.
Hebrews 12:2 Focusing on Jesus, the initiator, and perfecter faith.