Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Deep River,
My home is over Jordan.
Deep River Lord.
I want to cross over into campground.

Deep River.
My home is over Jordan.
Deep River, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground.

Oh, don't you want to go,
To the gospel feast.
That promised land,
Where all, is peace.

Oh, deep River, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground.
(a negro spiritual my father, Dr. Franklin Lusk, sang often as a choir director and music minister)

Temperatures in the hundreds still prevailed, so to spite the heat, we trudged closer with our load of folding chairs strapped over our shoulders.  Towels in hand, the sun sparkled on the gently flowing surface that lured us on.  Strapping on fins and mask, my youngest son, lithe, blonde, bronzed, and like a miniature Tarzan, quickly slipped beneath the surface of the chilly spring-fed waters of the Comal River, a few miles from our home in the Texas hill country.

Cooling off after an energetic swim against the current, I gazed across to the opposite shore at the cypress, oak, and mulberry trees.  They all leaned as if anticipating a cool draught from their shady shore.  Some grew green, majestic, and healthy, while others showed the strain of the drought with sagging limbs and browning leaves.

I had to wonder how a tree so close to such a healthy source of fresh water could suffer so.  Only a few feet from refreshment and life, yet there they stood, openly showing their root systems' lack of depth.  I had to conclude that there was some obstruction.  Perhaps rocks or older roots stood in their way of discovery. 

This image stayed with me for some time.  Those trees easily reflect us all.  Stalwart, courageous, willing to stand through all kinds of trials.  Some are grasping to hang on by sheer will power, yet soon they slip away, discouraged, distracted, or off track as they do not seek any other help but their own selves.

While others stand patiently, expectantly, bearing the heat that the sun pours down unmercifully.  Trusting, uncompromising, continuing to stretch inch by inch toward the source until it flows up through its roots running up and throughout its watering system to provide the turbidity needed to flourish.

Just as these trees reflect their relationship, their closeness to the river, so my life has the same choices as I wander through the trials in this world.  Each and every one is to be embraced, for there is not one present for me to walk through without God standing with me.  The difference can only be whether or not I choose the shallow way, or the way of the deep river.

The shallow way affords instant gratification, ease, glory, and kudos for my illumination.  The deep waters and current offer me discord, resistance, obscurity, misunderstanding, and humility.

Choose the depths of God's riches.  Choose the unknown road paved with countless thankless tasks to ease the burdens of others.  Choose the paths less traveled and find that in the end, there is an unmeasurable glory for all of our wilderness wandering, following blindly, for our pain and suffering.  I admit, much of the pain I see in my life I bring upon myself, but then when undeserved blows in life cause me to stop or to question whether I have my bearings: whether I am headed in the right direction. I look around for the answers to so many whys, so many things I do not understand. 

Today, I have learned to pause.  I let his thoughts fill me with answers in my troubled soul.  On my good days, I search God's wisdom left for me to read, think over, and act upon.  Then my roots grow deep into him as he feeds me with the truth.  Over and above what I deserve, I find life springing up in me for a rebirth where death meant to do me in.

The calming sound of the steady flow along the shoreline brought me back and again I glanced from the surface where I saw my son's blue snorkel spraying out trapped water.  He lifted his head and looked to see if I watched his activity and grinned a pleasurable reply to my nod his way.

I feel the simple pleasure of my child's acknowledgment and dependence.  I sense my heavenly father looks my way in much the same way.  He is my river.  He wants me rooted in his strength and surrounded with his sustenance and  in the folds of his loving arms.

It is quite a journey, yet someday, I will cross over to see Jesus more clearly.  I will stare in amazement to see him face to face at last.  Crying will go out of style replaced by bubbling laughter and joy.  Regally and humbly I will rule and reign over worlds saturated in such delicious love.  All sorrow fades.  Regrets will vanish in the presence of God's glory.
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