“Jesus, keep me near the cross.
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a Healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.”
“Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross”, a song, full of words of promise and of hope and of Life have been running through my head since last Monday’s “Girl Group” Bible study. Through Thurch (our Sunday night small group which was formerly on Thursday nights. Church+Thursday=Thurch), I have met some of the strongest, most beautiful Christian girl friends that I have ever known.
Some of my Girl Group on our Girl's Night Out/In - Dinner in Hillsboro Village and Steel Magnolias on the couch
Recently the girls decided to do Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” Bible study together. We have only been in the study for three weeks, but I already feel like we have grown and have been challenged and have been changed both as individuals and as a church of friends. As we share our lives with one another, it has been such a blessing to see the ways that God has taken our histories and turned them into His Stories.
Last week, Beth Moore referenced Isaiah 48:18 where the people of Israel are told that they could have peace like a river and righteousness like waves of the sea. When I think of peace, I always think of stillness and quiet and calm.
I think of a late evening walk to the pond.
I think of a sunset on the beach.
I think of a life that is full of happiness and contentedness and little activity.
But as Beth Moore alluded, we aren’t promised peace like a pond. We are promised peace like a river. A wild, rushing, ever-changing, rapidly flowing river of Living Water. We aren’t promised a quiet, still righteousness. We are promised righteousness as wild, but as steady as the waves of the sea that crash over us and leave us breathless for more of all things holy. We are promised a Healing stream that flows freely from Calvary. Our peace is found in the craziness. Our peace is found in the motion. Our peace is having a heart that rests in the promises of God. A heart that, while ever changing and moving and growing and being challenged, is at rest in the hands of the One who made it. The One who gives Living Water to cleanse and heal and redeem us.
This past Thursday night at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, my two hour volunteer shift was spent entirely with a tiny baby boy who spends his days and nights alone in a hospital crib. His name was strung across his door in a precious way that looked as if the same banner may have been used as a decoration at his baby shower. The foot of his bed was lined with stuffed animals, several embroidered with “Jesus Loves Me” or “Bless this Little Lamb”. When I crept into his dark room to peer over into his crib to see if he was awake, I saw the most precious little baby boy, squirming around, trying to break free from his swaddle. There were IV poles and monitors and beeping machines all around and I was reminded that just about a year ago when I started volunteering, I would have been intimidated. I don’t have a medical background at all, so in the beginning, anything that beeped made me jump. Carrying a child and pulling an IV pole at the same time seemed near impossible. But time has healed many of those fears. As volunteers, we are fortunate to not know the stories behind the children. We don’t know, medically, why the children are in the hospital. We don’t know social standings or family situations. We have the blessed ability to walk into a room with no hesitations or pre-fabricated assumptions, armed with everything that we need to bring our own source of healing to the children and families in the hospital – a smile, two open arms, and a heart full of love and attention. And on Thursday night in a sterile, yet comfortable hospital room as I rocked a sweet, cuddly baby boy and sang the only song that could come to mind -“Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross” - for two solid hours, I felt the once-restless little boy fall into the comfort of the arms of someone that he did not know, but someone that he knew was Love. Arms that, when they hold you close, bring peace. There were nurses checking in and all sorts of hospital noises and occasional diaper changes and check-ups, but there was stillness. And while I thought that I was there to bring a form of healing to this sweet baby boy, God finally got the time alone with me that He has been waiting and asking for. Not two hours of small group talking or church going or service giving - all of which are incredibly blessed times and crucial to my spiritual journey. But that night, He got two hours alone. Just with me. Two hours of holding close a quiet heart in the midst of activity. Two hours of allowing a wild and rushing river of peace and waves of righteousness wash over my heart.
It is my prayer for you that you will have a heart that is at peace. And a heart that is overwhelmed with waves of righteousness. A heart that is ever moving and changing and flowing with Living Water.