So often relationships start out with the promise of lasting happiness and then something goes wrong and we are tempted to just opt out. But the fact is, the ups and downs of relationships are normal. Just as we have changes in the seasons, we have changes in the states of our love and that is because no one is perfect. But, hopefully, we are in the process of becoming better people.
Rebirth is not an instantaneous event but a process over time – for most of us a lifetime. It is never an easy process but it is worth the effort. There is usually tension involved… think of how a gemstone becomes shiny rubbing up against the other stones on the shore… think of the music produced by the friction between the bow and the strings of a violin… think of the development of a beautiful pearl, the result of the oyster continually overlaying an irritating piece of grit inside it’s shell. We come up against other people all the time and many differing points of view, and friction can result. In the process we may be hurt and we may in turn hurt others.
The way we choose to react to others may determine whether or not, over time, our rough and sharp edges are softened… our tones are dischordant or become mellowed… our spirit becomes disfigured or a form of beauty as are those who come into heaven.
It is hard to change but no situation is ever hopeless. There is help at hand in the form of your inner guidance from God, the strengths He has blessed you with and the people out there who are trained to help, not to mention those who make up your spiritual family. Put your life in God’s hands and take each situation as it comes. Remember, He makes all things new.
In the Bible, water corresponds to truth. This means that what water does for our natural bodies – cleansing, slaking our thirst, refreshing us – the corresponding truth does for our spiritual selves. We can thirst for the truth and, when we find, it is refreshing.
Rocks also correspond to truth but of a different kind. These are the foundation stones upon which a person’s faith is built. For me, they are the things my parents taught me as I was growing up – that there is a God and a life after death; that we should not steal, lie, kill, etc. because God said so; that God loves us and cares about every least particular of our lives; that we can pray to Him; that His Word is true; and so on – the nitty gritty of what I grew up to believe. These can be seen to be true but they don’t always touch our hearts. After all, you can’t drink a rock. There is a thirst for a different kind of truth, the experience of the truth. If we have a dry, lifeless faith and are thirsting for a more satisfying life, God can quench our thirst as he did for the children of Israel when they were beginning to die of thirst in the wilderness. He commanded Moses to strike a rock with his rod and water gushed out. When we put the truth into action (represented by Moses striking the rock) and experience it in our lives, we find how satisfying and helpful it can be. Our faith comes to life.
The truth of this has been brought home to me at different times in answer to prayer. When a prayer is answered in a real way, I am given a sense of God’s nearness as a very present help in times of trouble. It is the difference between knowing a thing to be true and the experience of it. The way to unlock or tap into the living water within the foundation stones of our faith is to seek the Lord prayerfully in times of need, knowing that He will provide. We can draw strength from the rock-like principles that we stand on – God can make living water come out of them as we seek to put them into practice in our lives. But, unless we possess those foundational truths to begin with, He cannot bring about the miracle of a living faith.
So, parents, teach your children well, give them a knowledge of what is true so these things may become the rock of faith from which living water can flow in their lives.
“As fresh water brings joy to the thirsty, so God’s people rejoice when He saves them” (Isaiah 12:3) (Good News Bible).
If we are to grow spiritually, we have to do some work. So that God can grow His goodness in the soil of our minds and hearts, the ground has to be prepared. There is a good old fashioned word for the work that has to be done. It is called repentance. Repentance does for our soul what working the ground does for the soil. Before we can sow seed in the ground we have to get rid of the rocks and weeds, and pull up the stumps. Repentance is like that, it invites God to walk the ground of our hearts and minds and sow good seed. We have to first take a look into our hearts to see what needs getting rid of and then acknowledge to Him, the Sower, what we see – the rocks of pride or stubbornness, the brambles of resentment, the stumps of guilt and shame with their deep roots, and so on. Our Creator will make the changes in our life with our cooperation. As we do our part at the physical level, He makes the changes on a spiritual level – He creates in us a clean heart and renews a right spirit within us.
We are not changed in an instant. This is a gradual process. It is a journey that the Lord invites us to go on so that we can become the people we were created to be. I think of an old woman, wizened with age, who has become gentle and loving and sees everybody in a good light. She has returned to the innocence of childhood with the addition of wisdom gained from life experience. Jesus said that we must become again like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Like that old woman, we have to get hell out of our life, and God gives us the strength to do so when we ask Him.
If you are willing to repent – to give up the things that stand in the way of your relationship with the Lord and other people – it is up to you, in freedom, to give Him those things, one by one. Now is a good time to start. The Sower is ready to help you prune out the dead wood – He will forgive past wrongs, heal your spirit, and implant in the garden of your heart the seeds of higher loves and affections, preparing you in this life for the blessings of heaven.
May the garden of your heart blossom and may you experience the joy of being loving in this life and in the next.
“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing, the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God” (Isaiah 35: 1, 2).