In the fall of 2008, Mike and I went camping in the Colorado mountains. It was a hot, dry summer. The trees and landscape were burnt and crispy. Campfires were forbidden because of the fire danger. But, we found a camping spot right next to a roaring river. It was running fast and full the whole time we were there. Sleeping was difficult because it was so loud. I remember commenting to Mike several times about how happy the river was right in the middle of a summer drought.
I love taking pictures and knew the light would dance on the river early in the morning. We were down in a canyon, and I knew I would have to walk upstream to find a place to get the best shot.
On the last morning, while Mike was loading up the truck with camping gear, I walked up river with my camera. I spied the perfect place and sat down on a boulder to wait for sunrise. Thanksgiving started bubbling up within me for the wonderful time God had given us. Soon all the love I had for Him poured out in singing a favorite praise song.
“There is none like You
No one else can touch my heart like You do
I could search for all eternity long – and find
There is none like You.”
As I started to sing the verse, the Holy Spirit stopped me after the first line…
“Your mercy flows like a river wide…”
Tears slid down my face as I looked at the scene before me. The river we camped beside all weekend was so full, powerful, and happy. Then I heard the Holy Spirit say, “This is a picture of My mercy. Take a rock and throw it into the river.”
I picked up a grapefruit-sized rock and hefted it into the water. It plopped and disappeared. Then Holy Spirit asked, “Do you see the rock?”
“No Lord, I can’t see it.”
“If I told you to go find it, could you do that?”
“No Lord, I couldn’t.”
“Take all those things you’ve felt guilty about and throw them into the river.”
I picked up another larger rock with both hands and hurled it into the river. Then I fell to my knees in thanksgiving and tears of joy.
Holy Spirit continued speaking to me. “Remember when you said how happy the river looked?”
“Remember this picture and know that it is always My joy is to wash away your sins and set you free in love. I am not angry. I am not holding back in any way. When you turn to Me, I am running toward you to embrace you in My love. My river of mercy is always flowing in fullness of joy.”
Since that day I understand His mercy. Repentance and receiving forgiveness are so much easier. His mercy flows like a river wide. Always.
~~ How About You? ~~
How often we feel we don’t deserve His love or His forgiveness. While I wasn’t dealing with those feelings at that moment, He knew I needed this truth in visual form. It has replayed many times since when I needed it most.
Consider His word:
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Therefore, when sin overwhelms you and repentance finds no release, remember the river of mercy. Throw your sin and guilt into His river of mercy and see it forever removed. Then spend time thanking Him for His infinite love.