The River of My Dreams

river
photo credit: Derek Haller/Heart of Nature Photography

There is this dream I have. A vision whenever I prayed.

I was being carried along by a rushing river. A real torrent of waves and whitewater; the riverbanks speeding by in a blur as I bobbed and flailed.

Then I’d see Jesus on the side of the shore and I’d reach my hand out. He’d grasp ahold and, depending on my life situation at the time, I’d feel as though he and I were barely hanging on to each other, or he would pull me ashore, soaked, gasping for breath, laying on the rocks and sand looking up at the sky wild-eyed and out of breath.

This was how I had always viewed my life, my salvation, and the saving power of Christ.

Is that how you see yourself? Your “Life in Christ”? Your salvation?

Is your prayer life something akin to “Dear God, help me hold on to you for dear life”?

I’ve also been doing a lot of reading lately. A couple key books, along with some scripture, particularly through Hebrews and Romans. And I’m only now beginning to realize one thing:

I’ve been wrong.

Wrong about my salvation.
Wrong about my image, wrong about my relationship with Jesus, and wrong about the rushing torrent that I saw as my life.

Only now am I beginning to see that I’m not being carried along by the flood waters of life.

I’ve been standing on the shore the whole time. With Jesus.

And I have been since I first called on his name all those years ago. Dry. Warm. Standing beside him. Standing behind him; the savior who pulled me from that river the moment I called on his name.

I haven’t been lost in those waters since.

What I envisioned were only flashbacks to the old me, the old life, the life I held before my salvation. The enemy, sin, the flesh, whatever you want to call it, is the one keeping those images at the fore of my mind. Only now am I beginning to see that that’s not me in those waters. That person doesn’t exist any longer.

I’ve been standing on the shore. The. Whole. Time.

I don’t know if you realize how freeing that is.

To be honest, there’s a bit of melancholy as I look back to all the time I kept imagining that it was me out there. But I’m not sad. I’m not beating myself up over all that “wasted” salvation.

I am who I am because of all that I’ve gone through. I wouldn’t change a thing. If I did, I may not be the man I am today. Maybe better. Maybe worse. But I wouldn’t be me.

Thank you Jesus, for hauling me ashore all those years ago.
Thank you for the slow revelation of my standing with you on the shoreline.

Oh, the river is still there.

Sometimes I dip my toes. Sometimes I dive headlong back into the current. But I’ve never stayed.

Jesus is still right there along the shore. Looking at me as I wade from the water, cold and dripping. Shaking his head with a quirky smile on his face like, “You idiot!”.

But there’s no condemnation in his eyes; only the inevitability of how he made me. He knows that. He expects it.

Now, I look back at him with a cheesy, chagrined look and an, “I know, I know.”

So he hands me a towel, and dry clothes. Because my spot beside him, behind him, is still there. It always will be.

And yours is right here, too. Along with your own towel. And dry clothes.

There may even be a camp fire nearby.

I need to do a little more exploring there, along the shore of the river. After all, I kind of like it there, and I plan on staying.

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