Dredging is an arduous process. Believe me, I know, literally and figuratively.
Growing up on the Jersey Shore, periodically large boats laden with machinery would take over the shoreline with their dredging. Loud and cumbersome, the machines would be used to dig and scoop and haul away the silt and sand deposits that had accumulated over the past years in the harbor or the waterways under bridges. To a child who wanted to play on the beach in peace, the whole situation seemed needless and inconvenient.
Yet, dredging serves a necessary purpose: to clear away and cleanse, to make space in order that boats might be able to have safe passageway.
The Lord has been dredging the silts and sands of my soul lately. And I don’t like it. It is inconvenient and terribly uncomfortable. Heaps of the stuff of my soul have been stirred up by His sanctifying hand to be scooped out. Unmet desires, misplaced identity and deeply engrained patterns of fear and shame are being loosed. Sin’s silt that long lay latent on the floor of my soul has been disturbed and exposed. My soul’s water, often clear enough, has been clouded by the tumult.
For the past week I have responded largely in annoyance and frustration. My spirit has been sore and sad. Why all the sudden and strong activity within my soul? Where did this come from? Why are you dredging me again? Is there anything left in there to be dredged?
In the midst of a good cry, the Spirit was gracious to bring tried and trusted Scripture to mind.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he received.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons….For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:5-7 & 11.
He dredges His children with purpose and in love for greater good. Though I feel emptied and exposed before Him, He was quick to gently remind me that He loves to fill empty people. Grace runs down like a stream to the lowest places, to the emptied souls.
He dredges us that He might drench us with more of Himself, more of His likeness, more of His will.
While I am ready for the dredging to cease and desist, I also find myself oddly thankful (tired and weary, but thankful) for His love shown to me through His persistent discipline and training of my soul. Dredging today for drenching tomorrow.
Less of me and my clamoring self; more of Him and the peaceable fruit of righteousness that He is cultivating within me. The coming drenching will make the dredging a dim and distant memory in the past.
For those who, like me, feel dredged down to the dregs, take heart and heed the words of David who has gone before us.
One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beatify of the Lord and to inquire in His temple….I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27: 4 & 13-14.