There is a song on the Christian charts about the River of Life. I have it stuck in my head often. The meaning of the phrase "River of Life" in this song is a common one. Once I've sat with it for awhile, I see that my meaning of this phrase is a little different. I think in metaphors when I am trying to understand something very profound. It's an intermediate step to help me put words to concepts for which I have never had words. My River of Life metaphor is more about how surrendering to God brings about cooperation with His plan for you. I have had this experience before, but not as vivid and powerful as recent epiphanies. As I see how everything around me is a part of His plan for me, the only way I can describe it is to explain an experience I've had in the physical world that created a similar result on my emotional center. It's a simple image to explain a profound concept.
I love river sports. And I know that when I am putting my boat in the water, it's best to select a place in the river that isn't moving very fast so my boat doesn't float away before I can get in it. I have to place one foot into the river to get in my boat. When I do that, I can feel the current rush around my ankle. I can feel how fast the water is moving by the pressure the water puts on my skin. The current is moving. When my foot was not in the water, I felt no movement. I couldn't feel the movement until I put my foot in the water. Then, my foot acts as an anchor to keep me and my boat from floating away until I am ready. And when I am finally in the boat (often it takes several tries, giggles at my clumsiness, and sometimes an unintentional river bath) I must lift my foot and surrender to the current. At this point, I no longer have an anchor to keep me in place, to keep me in control. The metaphor continues as I work with the river to keep me safe and on the right path.
In God's world, my world, everything including the river and beyond, When I have my foot anchored but am not ready yet, it's a struggle. A very uncomfortable situation I need to figure out how to get out of -- but when I let go and let God, I know when I've put my foot in the water, and I know when I've surrendered to the current. So for me, the River of Life is more a metaphor for the struggle/surrender cycle of growth, of being in and getting out of God's way. But most importantly, how it feels when I am working with God instead of trying to do it on my own. And when I'm doing it His way, I'm going along for the ride. He puts people and events in my life that enrich me when I respond. And they come at such a rate that I don't have time to think about how to respond. I only have time to follow the orders He has already put on my heart.