Thought I would put in a short piece that will be in my next book (and there’s a statement of faith!)
The River of God is full of water – Psalm 64:9
The river flowed. It always flowed. It was always full. It flowed and it shimmered. It was both colourless and full of colours. Every colour of the rainbow and more were in the river. Even as I looked at it the colours seemed to move and change. Just as I decided it was blue, it would appear gold, then red, then brown and orange and oh – many more colours than I could ever mention. Each colour was purer and more vibrant than I had ever seen and changed from one shade to another as I watched. The river sometimes shimmered, sometimes glowed. It sparkled one minute and seemed pearlescent the next. Somehow it held the essence of God – hardly surprising since it flowed from His throne room, and the further it went, the deeper it become.
He breathed life into His children. The breath of His life contained His essence, and this was imparted too. No one child could contain it all. The breath could not be contained in lungs – it went directly into the Spirits of His children.
The children breathed out, and the very same air that had filled them with life also activated vocal cords of denial:
"I am no artist!" "I can't spell, let alone write!" "I cannot draw, let alone paint!" "Creative - me? That's a joke!" "I don't have a musical bone in my body!"
And the slightly more honest, but no less stifling, statements:
"Well I drew this, but it's just a scribble..." "I like writing, but I'd never show anyone..." "What if they don't like it? what if they laugh at it?" "I've been mocked before; I'm not risking that again..." "Sometimes I sing off-key"
And the stain of shame spread across their beautiful but unseen creations, all of which proclaimed the Father’s glory.
The denials came even as the children tended their gardens, refurbished their homes, made up stories for their toddlers, fiddled about in their workshops or went about their daily business, humming tunes under their breath. ‘No, we aren’t creative,’ they insisted.
The River of God, gloriously full and multicoloured, sparkling, shimmering and full of life, flowed through their hearts. It could not fail to produce rich fruit and leaves for healing of the nations, but they refused to recognise the fruit or allow the leaves to fall, for they were blind, and saw no value in the fruit or the leaves. They said. “Fruit? What fruit? What leaves? Everyone has them. What’s so special about them?” His children were sometimes as insightful as trees!
What would it take?
It would, of course, take the Gardener. He stopped by one of them and reached for an orange. The tree shrieked, “What are you doing? It isn’t ripe or ready yet. It has to be perfected first.”
The Gardener took no notice but peeled the glistening fruit, separated the segments, put one in his mouth, and bit on it. Juice burst into his mouth and he grinned, biting into the rest of the fruit. Juice ran down his chin. He smiled, “It tastes like no other fruit.”
“Exactly!” cried the tree. “I warned you it wasn’t ready.”
Softly the Gardener spoke. “It has been ready a long time. It is good; it is delicious; it brings life; it is beautifully unique. I can taste the Father in it.”
The tree seemed to stand a little taller. It seemed to rustle its branches, and now more fruit could be seen, nestling among the glossy leaves. One or two of these leaves dropped off now, to be carried away by the river.
“No!” cried the tree in dismay. “My leaves! I am losing my leaves!”
The Gardener laughed and pointed at buds which were already springing up on its branches. ‘Look!’ He exclaimed in delight. ‘More are growing. As you allow some to fall, as you give away the fruit, more will grow.’ Your fruit will bring life to whoever eats it, for it is My fruit fed by My river. Your leaves will heal those whom they touch, for they are My leaves, fed and grown by My river.
As the Gardener spoke with love in his voice, He was touching the tree. Stroking the trunk, caressing a leaf here and there. Sniffing the fruit and murmuring in admiration. Taking His time. “May I take more of your fruit? I know some who need its life-giving properties?” It was gracious of him to ask? All the trees were His, growing in His garden, fed by His river. He didn’t need to ask. But still He asked.
The tree hesitated. “But it’s harvest time. That fruit took time to grow. What will be left if you take it?”
The Gardener laughed, but it was a kindly laugh and His eyes twinkled. “This is My garden. This is My river. You will harvest often, not just once a year. You will produce more fruit each month. Different fruits, too! Not just oranges! Imagine that!”
The tree tried to imagine bearing apples, pineapples and kiwis. It seemed unbelievable, yet it heard truth in the Gardener’s voice.
“Well, will you risk it?”
In reply to the Gardener, trusting His voice and relishing His loving touch, the tree let out a laugh. “Shake me!” it cried. The Gardener placed a hand on the trunk and the tree trembled. Oranges tumbled down, glossy leaves dropped into the river. Even as they fell, new silver leaves sprung up along its branches and twigs. There was a hint of a scent of pear, the promise of future fruits.
“Thank you,” whispered the Gardener as He gathered the fruit. The tree drank deeply from the river, feeling new life flow into its sap.
The Gardener moved on to the next tree. Each tree was different. He took time with each tree. He asked each tree the same question.
“Well. Will you risk it?”