by Lori Altebaumer @lori_altebaumer
And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1 NKJV
Standing beside the mountain stream watching the crystal-clear water rushing by, I am reminded of the river of living water spoken of in Scripture. The urge to remove my shoes and step into the flow is strong. But this stream carries snow melt straight from the mountaintops. The water is so cold it makes my bones feel like they might shatter. It’s not even close to pleasant.
Yet the beckoning is strong, an irresistible invitation to step into something sacred. My shoes slide off, and I brace myself. And in the momentary pain⸺ until thankfully my feet go numb⸺ I am a part of this river that comes from far above and flows down into places I will not see or know.
The water captures the light, illuminating the variegated colors of the rocks beneath its surface, transforming the ordinary into extraordinary. The pure water swirls around my ankles in a dance that sparkles and hops as it hurries on.
Tranquil pools of water bring a sense of much needed peace, but it is the active, flowing water that transforms the rocks and hard places of life into something so lovely we can’t resist the urge to step in.
Our lives are full of hard places, some of our own doing, some as the results of the actions of others. There is no life that escapes these stones of bitterness: hurt, fear, insecurity, grief—the list goes on. Whether they are our own hard places or the hard places of others spilling over, they make a solid lining for the pathway of our lives.
But our hearts long for more. We’ve lived with the hurt and disappointment, the confusion and doubt for so long we may have buried the longing so deep within us we no longer recognize it. But it’s there. And even more, we thirst for a beauty that inspires us, something so beautiful we can’t resist its invitation to step in. Like the river flowing from the mountain tops, quenching the thirst of all it touches, moving with purpose toward its final destination, we find our purpose in the movement of our lives. And it is there, too, we find the beauty.
What a joy to know that the hard places in our lives can be made beautiful beneath the pure, living water of our Creator. What a comfort to know He has a plan to redeem the ordinary and unwanted, to transform it into something extraordinary. That plan is the River of Life which flows from His throne to carry us into His eternal blessings when we step in through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the first blessing is to know the beauty of those transformed hard places of our lives has the potential to inspire others. It invites them into the River of Life that has the power to transform them as well.
Like stepping into the frigid waters of the mountain stream, it may be painful at first. But as the apostle Paul declared, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV).
Today I face the momentary discomfort and invite the River of Life to pour over the hard places in my life, giving God the sovereignty to transform it for His purposes, in the hope another may be encouraged to step in.
About the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. With her boots on the ground, head in the clouds, and heart in His hands, she is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart in search of life’s best adventures. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Her first novel, A Firm Place to Stand, released in January 2020. She also
blogs regularly on her website www.lorialtebaumer.com. In between writing, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here.
Join the conversation: What is there in nature that really speaks to you about God?