I looked over the bridge and saw two ducks bobbing up and down on the fast flowing river. They were going backwards. Although facing upstream and paddling for all they were worth, the strong current was carrying them further and further away from the direction they wanted to go. They seemed to be almost in panic as they struggled to cope with the force of the water.
As I watched I saw they were gradually being carried towards the far side of the river. They soon realised that this was their best option and turned their efforts towards the bank. Eventually they reached the calmer water on the edge of the river where they were able to stop their frenzied efforts and rest. They found a small quiet inlet, away from the force of the current, where they could regain their strength, and for a while they dabbled peacefully in the shallows.
The two ducks then started slowly on their way upstream again, this time keeping close to the bank, and with very little effort, made steady progress back up the river. They soon reached their desired destination, and one after the other climbed out of the water on to the grassy bank.
Do we find life in the fast lane a bit overpowering? We grapple with our problems and struggle to work things out. Often in the midst of strong opposition we battle on, pushing forward towards our objective, casting God aside and struggling in our own strength. Sometimes, perhaps in despair, we give up. The odds are too great and we’ve run out of options. Then we seek God’s help.
Are we caught in a downstream current, trapped in a particular course of action, only to find there’s no way back? Perhaps so. But there is a way forward. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9). Have we considered God’s ways?
Perhaps it’s time to stop paddling against the current, and head for the shallows. Find a quiet place where you can rest and wait on the Lord for a while. Let’s take a lesson from the ducks. They were taken to one side where it was calm, and they could stop struggling.
Consider the words of Jesus: ‘Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28).
When we’ve rested for a while we discover there’s a better way. But it’s not in our own strength. ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13).
Let’s dabble in the shallows for a while. ‘Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart’ (Psalm 27:14). Then we can confidently say to Him, ‘Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life’ (Psalm 143:8).
Prayer: Lord, where else can I go to find direction, strength and peace? Everywhere else is hostile and confusing. Draw me back on to the pathway of love, away from the fast flowing river of strife, where my confidence lies in the security of Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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