Every year for the past thirty years I have gone fly fishing. For the last ten years, I’ve fished with a great friend named Larry. We choose a river somewhere in Montana, hang out, and fish all-day every-day for a week. And I mean fish. We hire a guide some days or go by ourselves and wade in the river on others. Either way, we get up early in the morning and fish until dark. It is one of the few times each year that I have no responsibility and nothing I have to do. It is a completely restorative time. That is why I keep going back.
I am a doer. I like working and accomplishing things, whether it is at CRISTA or at home. I can’t sit still for long. So, during the first few days of this year’s fishing trip I set out as usual to catch (and release) as many fish as I could. About the third day it dawned on me: “I don’t have to hurry anymore or get anything done today.” I challenged myself to go slow and enjoy the experience.
I sat by the river and told myself to relax and stay put for an hour. To make sure I didn’t move too soon, I timed myself at first. I found a flat rock where I could keep my feet in the cool water. I noticed a dark dipper bird diving underneath the water to feed on bugs. Then I saw a kingfisher dive from a tree branch to scoop up a fish in its beak. Amazing. Then, an osprey dove straight into the river and came up with a large fish, returning to its nest on top of a dead tree to feed its young. I reveled in the beauty of the mountains, the sky, and the river as it flowed cool and clear.
I began to thank God for the beauty of His creation. His presence slowly enveloped me. Spontaneously I asked Him, “What do You want me to do with the rest of my life to serve You?” Like a lightning bolt the stunning answer came. “Nothing.”
“Really God, nothing?”
“Yes, nothing. Just be with Me,” He said.
A few days later, I returned home and sat with my wife Kathleen in our family room to debrief the time. While I was gone, she had different grandkids over each day. They all have such unique personalities, which makes them so special. One wanted to go play sports, another shopping, some exploring, others staying home.
Then, she stopped and contemplated one very special moment. When Kathleen asked one of our grandsons what he wanted to do, he came over to her, gave her a big hug, and said, “Grammy, I love you and I just want to be with you.” It was the highlight of her week.
I hope you get the connection between our relationship with God and my wife’s experience with our grandson. God doesn’t need anything. He doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. He simply wants us to be with Him and experience the lavish love he has bestowed on us through His creation and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
I John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God…”
The definition of ‘lavish’ is to expend or give in great amounts or without limit. This word is used six times in the Bible. Very few humans can love like this, if any. Understanding and accepting the love of God and knowing through faith that we are His sons and daughters, regardless of what we do or don’t do, is a transforming experience. Learning to accept and live into this lavish-love is a life-long journey.
We are adopted sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe. We have been given unending love out of the limitless resources of His personhood. My prayer for you and me is that we can rest in the lavish love of God, knowing that there is nothing we need to do but accept that it’s all we need.