A little channel ran behind the cabin my parents rented. It was wide enough to fit two good-sized boats passing each other. It had plenty of room to take the paddle boat, kayak, and row boat and putter around a little. There were lots of little fish the kids loved catching off the dock. They even got in the boat and tried to catch a few while paddling around.
As you floated up and down the channel, there were certain areas where you would catch a whiff of something dead sometimes. Once, we saw a dead duck just floating in the water bottoms up. The water was dirty and shallow, and we even disposed of a fish head in there, so we could enjoy seeing its beady eyes staring up at us every now and then.
In spite of the fact that this little channel was no Hawaiian beach, we all enjoyed ourselves nestled in our quiet cabin overlooking this functional and adequate little waterway. I had several thoughtful moments sitting at the dock with my legs dangling over the edge, watching the water and observing nature around me.
But the time came when my husband and I got in a boat and slowly (very slowly) began to make our way down the channel. We passed beautiful summer cottages along the way and drooled over the various water toys tied to the docks. We noticed the trees, stretching their lush, green branches over the bank. We felt the breeze in our faces, and laughed at our inept attempt at boating.
We looked ahead and saw that the channel was coming to an end, but the bushes and trees were blocking our view of what would come next. As we rounded the corner and went through the opening in the greenery, we just sat there in awed silence. We were on a beautiful lake, filled with see-through water, surrounded by mountains on all sides. The sky was brilliant blue above the green mountains, and the water stretched for miles and miles. The sun was setting, and we quit paddling and let our boat just rock back and forth as we sat and took in the picture God had painted for us.
As I thought about the stark contrast between the channel and the lake, I began to realize that life is a lot like that. We are content to sit on the dock of our tiny, little waterway and watch our small world go by. We think we are where we want to be because we are having so much fun playing in our dirty water.
Yet, God has so much more he wants us to experience. He knows what our lives are supposed to look like, and he wants to show us true beauty if we would let him. We cannot see it yet because we are too content in our dirty water. If we would trust him, get in the boat, and let him take us for a ride, we would come around that bend and never be content with the channel again.