Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Like Water Under The Bridge

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Job 11:15-17 (NIV1984)

15 then you will lift up your face without shame;
    you will stand firm and without fear.
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
    recalling it only as waters gone by.
17 Life will be brighter than noonday,
    and darkness will become like morning.

Yesterday I was over at the church to pick up some things that were needed to finish the framing part of the River Walk project. I stopped for a few moments to pray in the prayer loft. While I was there I picked up a light turquoise promise stone. It had on it the verse above. I like to believe that the Holy Spirit leads me in what stone to pick up from the hundreds of choices that lay in the sands of the River Project. Here is one of the posts that I wrote about that project as people experienced it for the first time it's titled People Experiencing the River Project. If you are new to my blog it will give you some photos to help you know what I'm talking about today. 

I took my little turquoise glass stone and looked up the verse in a near by bible. I love the part about "You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by." I'm sure that things that seem huge and weighty today will in time wash away as water under the bridge. I remember sitting by the river side about a month ago and throwing one by one a handful of pennies in to the high and swiftly moving waters. Each penny represented something that I was releasing and letting go of. I'm very hands on. I experience intangible things often through tangible things. The river project is a good example. It connects things that one can touch, feel, smell, and see with things that are harder for people to experience like the Holy Spirit, prayer, and communion with God. They are little tools to help people connect the unseen with the seen. 

Creating projects like the River is part of me operating in my spiritual gifts. My gifts all seem to center around helping communicate the things of God. You can't lead others where you have not been yourself. For me the path to the Lords presence is one I have walked a lot. I spend a lot of time there, I know those trails like an experienced trapper or mountain man knows the trails through the woods and country side. Much like a river guide knows the river and can help people who are new to its wonders, experience it.  Even experienced river guides and trappers are aware that their familiar pathways change with the seasons. Experiencing God is always fresh and new. I am so like the blind man trying to describe and elephant. I'm not trying to exalt my own spirituality, but to say that I approach God with a sense of wonder and have learned to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me, to allow the word to be a light on my path. I use the spiritual gifts that God has chosen to give me. Like one who practices a musical instrument becomes more proficient through practice, I am becoming proficient at creative communication of spiritual things. 

I notice that when I am creating by doing mosaics or painting or writing that there are times when I move beyond my natural ability and something else kicks in. Its a bit hard to explain. Its a bit like what is described in 2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. There is a point where I am carried along by the Holy Spirit. I think there is plenty of examples of God giving various people the ability to carry out the task of creating something to help others experience God.
Communion is one example of tangible things that Jesus used to communicate a larger spiritual truth. Then he said do this in remembrance of me.  Baptism is another - are you just getting wet, or is something spiritual happening and that act of getting wet helps to connect you with that spiritual thing that is happening. We wear rings on our married fingers as a sign of a covenant made between two people in marriage. These are all examples of tangible things that help us experience our God who is intangible. 

So where was I going with this post. My experience of sitting by the river and casting pennies representing things I was realeasing to God created in and for me a memory I could use to connect a spiritual truth with my tangible experience. I was able to connect the verse above with something I had connected with in a very tangible way.  God was able to allow my experience to help me understand what he was by the Holy Spirit saying to me in the prayer loft.  I know that there is no way to get back those pennies any more than there is a way to get back those things I released into Gods care that day. I can understand God saying to me in that moment in the prayer loft, that he hears my heart. He know those things that I struggle with and he says in that moment they will soon be water under the bridge. That is an awesome promise that I can hold on to with hope and trust. He knows which things will wash away and which things will remain. As I have learned to trust him with things in the past that were once hard, I know that at some point I will look back on my current difficulties and struggles and they will indeed be water under the bridge, things that have washed away and are no more then memories of how God was faithful to ferry me through to my destination in Him.

I leave you today with a portion of Isaiah 43

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
3For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

He knows what you are going through. He will be with you in the trials that you are facing and in time you will look back and they will be water under the bridge. I think of a Poo Bear story where Poo and the gang are standing on the bridge watching the sticks that they have thrown into the river  be carried away by the current. Maybe you need to go find a quiet spot by a river and throw something in to represent what you are now willing to release into Gods keeping. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for the promises in your word. Thank you that by your Holy Spirit you help us connect with them in a personal way. Thank you for the things that you give us to help us experience and communicate the intangible truths of your awesomeness. 

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