The Missouri River is flooded. It has been for a while now. We went to the river one night to a place called Kaw Point. You cross the bridge to Kansas, and from the other side of the river, you can see the city’s reflection painted across the river. On a normal day, you can walk down a rocky path and stand on the bank of this mighty river. But that night, the river was flooded, and the water stood twice the height of an average man. We skipped rocks across the rising currents and told stories in the dark. The river rose even higher – above the place we stood that night.
The more I thought about the rising waters, how rain continues to fall and trees continue to drown, the more familiar it felt. Water always moves the same direction down a river; it knows its destination and sticks to the course. Sometimes rocks and those with dominion cause the river to shift directions or flow at a different pace, but no matter the obstacles, a river always moves downhill. Eventually, it finishes its course and becomes part of something bigger. I’ve felt like a flooded river for a while now, even though I know my soul’s trajectory is heaven. Course-shifting and speed-changing are expected and are familiar to me in this life. But sometimes, I can’t tell where the stepping stones or riverbank exists because the waters are far above where they once were.
I don't often recognize the initial signs of flooding. Like the Missouri River, I realized everything is more full than it used to be. Suddenly I’m drowning. Every facet of this life seems to spill over the boundaries until I can not tread water anymore. I’ve tried to ignore the flooding at times and take a bucket to it at others – both tactics absurd. But it is hard to trust my King when my eyes are fixed only on what I can see, when my heart yearns for something that is not yet given, and when the plans of my Lord seem illogical at best and cruel at worse. My impulse is to analyze and evaluate every part of my life. How could the water have risen this quickly? Where is it all coming from? How can I keep the water out? Why should I be surprised that I woke up and found I’ve flooded? On and on the questions go, self-deprecating and God-ignoring all the way. No amount of interrogation will stop the flood. It exists and I have a decision to make. I can either scoop water with my tiny bucket, close my eyes and pretend there’s no flood, or see the flood as a gift from God. This is where I am – covered by water and desperate for God’s help every moment to truly believe this flood is a gift. My prayers are wet with tears of confusion and heartache. These prayers are the full-forced rapids ushering me into the heart of God – with trust and trembling all at once. I need God to help me remember that even a flooded river is still a river moving into His arms. He drains the waters of my soul.