I've been soaring through these past couple weeks in a state of uninterrupted euphoria. It's like nothing can go wrong, and when they do, the sun is still shining and the summer is still coming, so it can't possibly matter.
I've been waking up each morning in blissful ignorance of what the day may hold, and then going to bed each night with a childish grin as I think to myself, Who woulda thought?! Each day, my God showers me with blessings, rare moments, and timely opportunities to say "Yes!" to His call. Every day, He's been answering one more prayer, beautifying one more moment, and touching my heart with one more miracle.
It's like I'm high on life. I'm infatuated with the story He's writing. I'm entirely taken with the song He's composing. Each morning signifies the bestowal of a brand new gift; a gift that I get to unwrap over the next twenty-four hours.
Every night I've been lying awake, just imagining what lies in my future. My pulse quickens and my mind races as I dream up all the possibilities that I get to discover. It's like I want to get to the future, but I'm enjoying Now so much that I'm at a dilemma of desires.
The random encounters, epiphanies, revelations, phenomenons, and moments that pop up every day in the most unexpected and awkward places just get me amped to see what God has planned for the rest of this short life! I've been waking up with anticipation, and going to bed with relentless excitement.
And it's been perfect.
God has led me to a place of rest and refreshment that I've desperately needed for a long time... but I know I can't stay. I know I can't live at this oasis. While my Saviour's been ministering to me and pouring into my weary soul, I know this is not my final resting place. Life is a conglomeration of good and ugly, rich and poor, and happy and sad. We will laugh and we will cry. We will have and we will have-not. What goes up must come down.
I'm not talking about emotions. I'm not talking about feeling happy one day and feeling depressed the next. I'm not talking about feelings, at all. While the glory of Christ and His wonderful gifts manifest themselves in the form of positive emotions and good spirits, these are only the fruits of what He is doing in my life.
Psalm 23 lays it all out. Right now, He's leading me through the green pastures. He's leading me by those still waters. He's allowing me to rest in those quiet meadows. He's renewing my strength.
But Psalm 23 makes it clear that "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" is not all green grass and babbling brooks. He also will lead me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. There will be struggles to come, and I know not how soon. Just as He's leading me through the fields of green, we will soon be headed into the dark places. Into the pain, the trial, and the temptation.... But He will still be with me.
So while I am here, at this Oasis, I will fix my eyes on the One who establishes my steps. I will fix my eyes on Him, because otherwise I will get lost in the euphoria. I will get addicted to this therapy, and then when I'm suddenly plunged into the Valley, I will be unprepared. I will have forgotten myself at the Oasis. I will have drowned in its waters and forgotten my mind in its psychedelic "joy."
We often imagine it will be hard to walk with God through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but I would point out that it takes tremendous loyalty and faithfulness to walk with Him through the garden! When we are finally given rest and relaxation, the tendency is to ignore the Word, ignore the Lord, and ignore the mission. When we are given a break from the hardships, it is tempting to also take a break from our Walk with God. Rather than abiding in Him during the good times and the bad, the good times often find us lounging on the couch in apathetic bliss which, consequently, finds us fearful and unprepared in the bad times that inevitably come.
There was once a people group who experienced the same thing. They were the children of Israel. They endured death and plague and war and starvation, and they eventually were led into the Promised Land. If I were them, I would've hoped for a blessing and maybe a "Knock yourselves out!" from Joshua. Instead, they received this sincere warning:
Deuteronomy 6:11b-12a ~ "When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord."
When you have eaten your fill, do not forget the Lord. Do not forget the Lord. Do not forget the One who brought you to the Promised Land. Do not forget the Lord who rescued you from your angst and tribulation. Do not forget the Lord who guided you to your place of rest.
Do not forget the Lord, who is not finished leading you.
He will rejuvenate. Invigorate. Renew. But He does not intend that we settle. In fact, He does not intend that we settle anywhere, anytime. Why? Because we don't belong here. We're citizens of Heaven passing through life on earth. We're ambassadors of Heaven on our way to the holy city. Here for now, gone tomorrow. We should never settle til we reach those pearly gates.
I don't know what's coming up. It might be great, or it might be worse than anything. Either way, I know that while I'm at this Oasis, Jesus needs to still be my priority. The Oasis only renews and restores when Christ is there, too. So I won't get comfortable. I won't get cozy. I'm keeping my bags packed and my Bible open, so that when the wave of trouble hits, I'll be prepared.
He'll lead us through the Valley, and He'll lead us through the Oasis. It's a constant journey that doesn't stop until we take our final breath. The key to walking in close fellowship with the Saviour is to keep walking. Don't stop while you're in the Valley, and don't stop while you're in the meadow. Keep walking beside the One who will guide you to completion. Keep walking alongside the One who has your best interests in mind.
Hebrews 13:14 - "For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."