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Mysterious Rivers
Photo: Rodolfo Belloli
When I gaze down at a river from the bank, I am always filled with a sense of curiosity, trepidation and even a twinge of fear. Rivers are mysterious creatures. They wind, bend, curl, flow, trickle and rush in an almost serpentine fashion that is particular only to them. Where I grew up, a backwoods town of 3,000 residents, there was a river that meandered just a stone’s throw away from my house. That river with its dark surface and unseen depths seemed to hold endless possibilities for a young boy. An always and ever changing environment where no single millimeter remained unchanged from moment to moment. The current would bring with it myriad new promises of adventure and intrigue.

With the onslaught of every summer came day after day spent at the river trying to stay as submerged as possible, emerging only to jump off of a bridge back in or at the incessant commands of my mother to exit immediately if I ever wanted to see the river again. Whether it was digging pits on the bank to fill with water and then as many garter snakes as possible or the mandatory contest to see who could catch the fabled monster crawdad, the river filled me with joy and fear. For while throwing clots of mud at my friends backs while they ran in terror of my trained arm was exhilarating, the times that I had been pinched by crawdads or thought that I had felt the brush of a “freshwater shark” against my leg would tug at the back of my mind every time I dove in. But the draw of the river, both in its known joys and its unknowable menaces, was undeniable. The draw is undeniable still. The craving to submerge and discover has only grown stronger.

Submerge Myself

When I mull over what the river represents to me, I cannot help but be reminded of my faith. Its depths are just as unknowable and mysterious. Its current’s just as full of joy and fear. When I gaze at my faith in all of its width, depth, trickling and rushing, I feel just as called to enter and submerge myself in it. The best part of faith though is that I never have to enter those waters alone. The almighty has promised to meet me there and lead me by the hand. And who better to enter the waters of faith with than he who has walked upon them. 

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown" (Isaiah 43:2).

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By Garrett Gladden. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation ®. 

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