I was a youth pastor in the 1980s and one of the most impactful things my youth group did each year was go to a most unique summer camp. The camp was made up of seven houseboats on the California River delta and provided a very special chance to get away from the distractions of the city. Each summer I would take a small group of students to live on one or two of those houseboats for a week of skiing, swimming, bible studies and very close fellowship.
Each night we would sit on the roof of the houseboat, look up at the star filled sky and listen to what God had to say. On our first night I would always start with a message that began, “Look up. Why do come to the river, because there are more stars here? No, because out here away from the competing artificial lights of town we can see more of the stars that are always there. Perhaps that is why it is often hard to hear God as well.”
All these years later I still find it true, there still are so many competing voices in our culture and in my life. I still need to go down to the river and listen to His voice, so that I can go back home and continue to recognize Him speaking to me in the midst of the clutter of my daily life. How about you?
Why do I go to the river at night?
They are all there in the city by day?
Because, when I lay on my back
on that flat, floating roof,
I see them and hear what they say.
In the busy and bright,
blocked by the blue,
the effect of the big one hides them from view.
Even at night,
when it should be alright,
Edison and Ad-men distract our sight.
What we’ve invented
profits the lie;
illuminates earth and obscures the sky.
But not out from the city,
suburbs and towns,
not out on the water; no others around.
Back in the rush,
you don’t notice them glisten.
Here you can’t help but look up and listen.
Listen to the story,
truth frozen in motion, silent and bold.
He’s as constant
in your life,
wherever you are.
So go to your river
and quiet your soul.
Listen through the clutter
and come back whole.
But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. (Luke 5:16 NASB)
“…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NASB)
Distractions, comes from Kirk’s poetry/devotional book, THE GRACE OF RAIN. Which, is available at Amazon.com along with his second book LISTENING LIKE BREATHING.