Holiday Devotional - December 21, 2016

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Diving In

And since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:21-23

There are times, when I am discontent or tired or run down, that I feel like my soul is parched. I am in need of a soul quenching, deep drink of refreshing water. This past summer, I needed to dive into Jesus' refreshing presence again. This is the vision, and refreshment, He gave me:

I stand on a pier. Looking out over a lake. Cool, clean, clear lake water. I dive in headfirst. The feeling of water pours over me. Beginning with my hands, up my arms, and over my head. As it travels down my torso to my waist and my thighs. Over my knees, down my calves and finally engulfing my toes. I am IN! I fall deeper in the water. Into cooler and cooler water. The temperature inside my body, in my mind, in my soul begins to drop. Refreshment… Ahhhhhh… The sweat that never seems to be washed away, the dirt and grime that sticks to it - it's gone. I am clean. I am washed clean by Your waters. I am baptized into You.

I emerge. Gasping slightly - because being fully submerged is too delightful to give up on too soon. My eyes open, and everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is brighter and cleaner. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust to the brightness. I blink and blink and blink as the water clears and my irises adjust. Laughter bubbles in my chest. Things cannot be this beautiful, this clean, this clear! My hand reaches up and swipes at my eyes, removing the remaining droplets. I blink and everything is a little less bright. A little less clear, a little less clean. Rising up within me is disappointment. Disappointment and fear that it was all an illusion after all.

So I push myself back underwater - quickly this time. Submerging my head again. Maybe I can bring back the glimpse of glory I saw before. I resurface. Blinking… Don't wipe your eyes!… that's what changed it all last time. I blink and blink and blink… looking around. Everything is blurry. My hand reached up and swipes at my eyes. The world looks like it always does. Beautiful, yes. But a little dingy. A little tired.

I can feel myself sigh. And perhaps all around me sighs too. Nope, not yet. Almost. It's almost time. We will all continue to wait.

I pull myself to the ladder and out of the water. I walk to my towel, wrap it around me. I look out across the water. I KNOW I saw behind the veil… just a glimpse. But I saw it. Maybe if I dive in again, I will see more. But what if I don't? Am I willing to be disappointed and yet content with what I have seen?
For now I hold onto the vision You have given me. I bask in the knowledge of my redemption. My skin feels clean. My soul feels clean. I will hold tight to You. Your washing. Your cleansing.

Father, send your refreshing Spirit over, around, and through me. Wash me anew in Your Spirit and Love. Turn me back to You, again. Return me. Break me and rebuild me again, O God. And in the midst of that a plea, that You, O God would cast off, cease, dissolve His grief and the anger I (we) have caused by the worship of other gods. Lord, show yourself to be merciful and give us rescue and liberty. Defend us and show your goodness!

The cry of the Israelites, in Psalm 85, then is the same as our cry now: Remember your promise to us! Send rescue. We are calling for the same rescue, the difference is that we have seen it come once and know it is coming again - am I ready? Come, thou long-expected Jesus. Come!

Rebekah Peterson
CSPC Associate Director of Women's Ministries