One of my favorite things to do in college had really nothing to do with college itself, but rather with one of the over 10,000 lakes in the state of Minnesota. To me, there was nothing more peaceful than walking the perimeter of my beloved Como Lake. It didn’t matter the season….I simply found the presence of the water to have a calming effect on my very hectic life. It was also a chance to escape the big city life and commune with nature.
It’s ironic then, I suppose, that I currently live in a desert, where walking by water either means being near a canal or passing by the neighbors’ yard when the sprinklers happen to be on. But today, I had a chance to walk around a lake in Sugarland, Texas – an opportunity I was not about to pass up. I enjoyed observing things I don’t get to see in the desert: snowy-white herons posing like statues near the water’s edge, large blue dragonflies buzzing about the trail, and a scattering of ducks sunning themselves on the grassy bank. As I crossed over the bridge to the opposite side of the lake, my eyes caught sight of a small, lone turtle. I stopped and watched him for a few moments. Poor turtle. All alone and attempting to paddle against the natural current. Not really getting anywhere. He could use a buddy, I thought. “I feel your pain little guy,” I said aloud as I continued to walk over the bridge.
Being single is OK. Sometimes. But it’s not exactly where I thought I would be in my life at this point. And truthfully, it’s not where I want to be permanently. I didn’t plan on being divorced or choose it, like most toilet-on-the-sidewalk moments. But life has definitely taught me that you don’t always get to chose what happens to you.
I continued on the trail, thinking about that little turtle and hoping to find another turtle, this time with a companion. You know, as a sign of hope from God for the future? I never did see what I was looking for. Only because God had something even better for me to see.
Out of the corner of my eye, they came into view: a pair of rowers, gliding silently through the water. Every perfectly synchronized motion looked effortless, but I could see quite a bit of strength and teamwork went into that scene. And they were going against the current. Together. In the same boat.
I’m not going to lie. Part of me felt jealous watching that scene. Because that’s what I want. Not literally, of course. Lord knows me rowing an actual boat would be rather disastrous. But I do want someone to choose to come alongside of me, climb in the boat and be my rowing partner through life.
I stared at those rowers for a bit, as they easily made a turn and gracefully went under the arches of the next bridge. “I want someone in my boat, God,” I whispered under my breath.
And as God often does, He speaks truth into my life through music. Through my Pandora station. Right into the earbuds in my ears. Because this is what I heard so clearly God speaking to my heart:
“From the need to be understood, from the need to be accepted, from the fear of being lonely, deliver me, O God. And I shall not want. When I taste your goodness, I shall not want.”
Oh, how I forget the goodness of God all too easily! There is nothing to want, because God provides all I need for this day. And the next. And the next.
There is no doubt in my mind that not I’m alone in this boat called life. God is in the boat with me, guiding me around every bend. I have dear friends who row their boats beside mine to encourage me. And while that is a huge blessing, God knows my heart aches for something more. SomeONE more. Someone who will be my best friend. Someone who looks at my broken heart and still chooses to love me. Someone who is honest and faithful. Someone who is passionate about his relationship with Christ. And someone who knows that Christ needs to be the center of our lives. I can make all the lists I want, but God knows my heart more intimately than even I do. He knows who is best. His plan is always better than the ones I have for myself.
And I trust Him to find my boat companion.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
~ Psalm 37:4