Earlier this week I headed off for a brief vacation with my son, Nathan and my Goddaughter, Jessica. We headed up North and paddled down part of the Au Sable River for three days. It was a fantastic time of rest, relaxation and refreshing. I found the river beautiful, full of different kinds of life, quiet, and very pristine.
Being on the Au Sable reminded me of Psalm 46:4-7:
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah (ESV)
I really like Matthew Henry’s commentary on these verses.
The river alludes to the graces and consolations of the Holy Spirit, which flow through every part of the church, and through God’s sacred ordinances, gladdening the heart of every believer. It is promised that the church shall not be moved. If God be in our hearts, by his word dwelling richly in us, we shall be established, we shall be helped; let us trust and not be afraid.
Rivers are often used as metaphors for life. As we floated down the Au Sable we even probed each other’s brains by having the others finish the sentence, “life is like a river…”
Some of the ways that we finished that sentence were nonsense, others profound. How would you finish that sentence?
God “finishes” the story with a river itself.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5 ESV)
Now that’s a river that puts the Au Sable to shame and a rest and refreshing way beyond our wildest imagination. For now, I’m glad to just keep on paddling down this river of life until that blessed day when we gather by the shores of the River of Life.