Don't Rush the River

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard
2011 5 Feb

I know several people who are contemplating job changes and major career moves. Given the shaky economy, making a move can be a scary thing to do. Sometimes it means moving to another part of the country; sometimes it means leaving a job with no certainty about a future paycheck. Since I've been in both situations myself, I know how unsettling it can be.

Many years ago my friend Jerry Hansen gave me a piece of advice for handling moments like this. Most of us tend to look at change as bad and to value stability above everything else. It's true that moving to Montana (or wherever) is going to mean an abrupt change in scenery, and it probably also means you're going to have to start at ground zero making new friends, finding a new church, and putting your children in a new school. That's not easy and it won't happen overnight. It may take months or even a year or two before you truly feel settled and "at home" again.

When I was between jobs and more or less drifting along in thin air, Jerry took me out to eat one day and told me something like this: "Ray, you need to enjoy this part of your life. If you fight what God is doing, it will just take things longer to work out. But if you relax and let God lead you, eventually you'll look back and see God's hand every step of the way." Then he gave me the punch line: "Don't forget. It doesn't get any better than this." I still smile years later when I think of those words because he was absolutely right. How many hours (days? weeks? months?) do we waste fretting over our circumstances and dreaming of better days when all our problems will be behind us? In truth, those "better days" never really come, not perfectly, not in a fallen world where nothing works right all the time.

Is there a theological truth behind this? Absolutely. If God is God, then he is just as much the God of your cloudy days as he is the God of bright sunshine.

Years ago I ran across this statement that applies to seeking God's will in the big decisions of life. "You can't rush a river. You've got to let it flow." God's work in your life is like a river flowing steadily toward its appointed destination. Right now your "river" may seem to have taken a detour and you may feel like trying to push the current along. It can't be done.

Are you worried about your future? Fear not. Don't rush the river. Enjoy these days as part of God's plan for your life. Go with the flow-and soon enough God will bring you into a safe harbor.

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