There was a layer of dark clouds in the distance as I headed down to the beach for a quick swim and to sit in the presence of God.  I usually love the lake in the evening; the waves that during the day splash up against the shore are usually quieted by this time of day and the water is calm and still.  But not this evening ~ like the emotions stirring within me, the lake was restless.  The wind was blowing in with a bit of a chill and the waves splashed on.  I waded into the water needing to be refreshed and began to swim.  I grew up swimming the river at my grandparents’ cottage and the water has a way of bringing me peace, and reminding me of being loved.  I came to the lake that evening longing for God.  I needed His presence and wanted to feel His love; swimming in the coolness of the lake, I was trying to submerse myself in His peace.

The water was rough, and the waves of frustration that have been surging in my heart in recent weeks could not be calmed, but seemed to intensify as I fought the splashing of the waves with each stroke. “This was not what I was looking for.” I said to God.  With one last wave hitting my face, I turned around and headed back to the shore.

The truth is, life has not been what I was looking for either.  I had dreams, hopes, and plans, but my journey has taken me on a path that I never imagined I would take.   All my dreams involved building my life up – building wealth and happiness, success and fun; building up a family, and a home, a career, and my dreams – but God has had other plans.  His plans have involved more tearing down than building up.   God is not at all interested in building me up or fulfilling my selfish dreams.  He has worked hard at deconstructing those dreams, until they look more like his Son’s; He has torn down, layer by layer, each wall that I have built around my heart.  This difficult and sometimes painful process was definitely not what I was expecting when I surrendered my life to Jesus.

I was tired and the chill of the air hit my body as I walked up the beach.  I wrapped up in a towel and sat in my chair, looking across the lake that had so disappointed me.  I opened my Bible, my heart still longing for God.  As I pondered why things had to be so hard, and where my life was headed, rays of sunshine began to push their way through the clouds and the light of the sun still unseen stretched across the lake and up towards the sky.   Its beauty quieted my grumbling soul as the love of God washed over me.  Things have not been as I have expected ~ this love that I have found in God is so beyond what I could have expected, that in moments like these it takes my breath away.  All the waves of frustration are calmed as I am reminded that God has a plan for my life which requires the careful work He is doing in me.  He is shaping me with His own hands until I am ready for the path He has laid before me.  Sometimes I fight the work that is being done, but as I sit looking at the lake in stillness before my Creator, I no longer see all the waves that were crashing against my face, now all I see is the beauty of his Son.

I have been chosen by the Eternal God for His purposes, and I give freely the life He has given me.

As the sun begins to set, it comes beneath the line of clouds,  the light of God shines on my face, and I am full of expectation over what He will do.   I begin to read my Bible, Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose…” Amen, in ALL things God is working for the good.  His sweet words to me are more than I can bear.  I close my Bible and worship.

You, Lord, are more than I ever expected.  Your love fills me with a joy I can’t contain, and Your work in me, even when difficult at times, is forming my life into a masterpiece that radiates Your goodness.  My mere words cannot begin to give You the praise You deserve.  I surrender this life for Your name’s sake because I so love You.  In Jesus precious name, amen.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.  Psalm 23:1-3

(All verses taken from the New International Version)

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