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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Living Water in the Desert

I've been feeling tired, drawn out and depleted lately... my little man just got over an awful week-long stomach bug (YUCK!). His behavior and focus have been great at school but then he's been falling apart when he comes home. I'd much rather have it this way than the other way around. We will always love him no matter what! The state he's in when he comes home just shows me how hard he's working to keep it together at school, particularly now that he's started potty training! Feeling sort of emotionally parched, I've been meditating on several scriptures about the Lord providing water in the desert. There are an awful lot of instances of water in the desert in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, water takes on a whole new meaning. In the Old Testament, water in the desert clearly represents life, as water is the source of life for all living things. However, in the New Testament, water takes on a spiritual meaning with the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Water now represents life, but eternal life, through Jesus Himself.  As I have written many times before, I am not one to talk about burning bushes or visions, but I do believe that God speaks to us even today... through Scripture, a particular song, even through emails or books, or even a comment from a friend. When you start to hear the same message over and over again, you know God is speaking to you LOUD AND CLEAR and it's time to listen!!! It is almost scary when you feel something deep inside and then you see it in writing or hear it in a song or in a friend's comment. You KNOW deep down inside it's God speaking and you get those chills, not like the kind you get when you are cold or when you are nervous, it's a unique feeling... Keep reading and you'll see what I mean.

In my quiet time with the Lord, I have been reading several books and I wanted to share what I read this past week. Three excerpts from three wonderful books... completely unrelated, the authors come from completely different backgrounds and perspectives: one is a well-known author and theologian of times past, the other is a Christian music/recording artist and youth pastor, the last is a parent of a child with ASD. However, the message is the same across all three excerpts... I have felt the Lord's "voice" so strong and clear that I HAVE to share these with you.

In a recent post, I shared an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy. In that book, as mentioned in the section I posted, Aslan the Lion (whom we associate with Jesus the Lion of Judah) shares with the boy (Shasta) that he had been protecting him all along. One of the places where the Lion granted his protection was... yup, you guessed it: the desert. Well, guess where the Lion chased Shasta to on the way out of the desert? Towards a gate where there was a cool pool of water where they stopped to refresh themselves and find renewal and rest. Hmmm...

In Mark Hall's book 'The Well' (M. Hall, 2011. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI. ISSBN: 978-0-310-56238-2), Chapter One: A Lone Woman, section titled 'The True Well,' he writes:
"Have you ever had that moment? Have you ever felt stale and hardened in your heart and yet sensed God trying to break through the thickness and say, 'I am not a book. I am not words on a screen that you sing. I am a person who wants to know you'?... I believe God speaks to us today, but we often don't hear Him because we try to exchange His living water for well water-- sustenance from our own wells... Here's the problem: Our own wells don't exist. They are a mirage concocted by the desires of our flesh and worsened by the enemy of our souls. What we consider wells are mere holes. They may produce benefits or even a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but the results never last. The thirst always returns... When we draw on anything or anyone other than Jesus for contentment, hope, security, peace, and life, we trade the only true Well for a meaningless hole... we must spend time with Him to become more like Him. The more time we take to drink Him in the more we surrender to Him and allow Him to change us, the more Jesus becomes our Well... When Jesus isn't our Well, we often compound the problem by trying to fix things on our own. We end up feeling more isolated and out of touch with the Lord."

Just a few days later I was reading Kelly Langston's book 'Autism's Hidden Blessings' (K. Langston, 2009. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, MI. ISBN: 978-0-8254-2977-4), Chapter 4: The Dawn Will Surely Come- God's Promise of Refreshment and Renewal. Here is what she writes (cue the chills...):
"Life can not exist without water. Without it we become parched. We dry up, our skin hardens and our tongues thicken in need of moisture. Our bodies shut down and eventually, if left without water, we will die. In Scripture, God uses springs and fountains of water to illustrate His ability to restore His life within us, enabling us to carry on with the work He calls us to do... He (God) knows exactly where we are in the desert of autism and He is waiting for us to cry out for renewal and refreshment (John 6:1-13, 21:1-6). The loving God who refreshed Hagar and her son (Gen. 21:17-19) with life-giving water promises to provide the life-giving spring of water we need to sustain us... The Holy Spirit is our Living Water and Advocate. As we wander through the days taking care of our children, our energy dwindles until we reach the point when we just can't give any more. It's a dangerous place to be, because in our tiredness we often take out our frustrations on the ones we love... In times like these it's important to remember that Christ never meant for us to go it alone. He promises to give us living water to sustain us (John 4:13-14)... I can not fully express how invaluable the Holy Spirit is when caring for a child with autism... He challenges us no longer to fear that our children won't get all that they need to survive autism, but instead to take our child by the hand and cry out to Him for help... Lean on your Advocate to carry you through the dry spells and bring to your tired soul a bubbling, invigorating fountain (of Living Water)."

I've often written about water in this blog... particularly my little man's love of water. Well, here I will leave you with links to two videos to make you smile. One is of our vacation to Cancun, where the little man had a BLAST playing in the water. The other is of Casting Crown's song "Come to the Well." I pray these will be refreshments to your soul.

Cancun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6-nAekdUy0
Casting Crowns "Come to the Well": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5unzXXC0k

Be blessed!

He LOVES the water!!!

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