William Alexander Percy wrote, “I often took to the levee in sheer lonesomeness and confusion of soul.” I can relate. I grew up with a levee.
Having a levee was a unique experience, it ran along, what we called, The State Line Ditch, which eventually ran into The Mississippi River. The Levee protecting us from the ditch was just immediately north of our homestead. The ditch separated our last little part of Arkansas from the Missouri bootheel. My father would fish in that ditch. Some of my earliest memories consist of sitting with him in a boat. My dad would tie me to the boat to ensure my safety. If I were to fall out of the boat I would never be far from his reach. We would sit in that flat bottom aluminum boat for hours as my dad quietly, but efficiently rolled through his trot line. As we progressed, hook by hook, he would gather his trophies of Catfish, Brim, and various other edible delicacies, along with the occasional turtle and the dreaded Gar, a fish that in my memory resembled a long dinosaur with the teeth to match. In my memory when the Gar would take the hook, it was as close as my dad ever came to cussing.
There is a Scripture where Jesus was speaking to His disciples and He makes this profound statement, “if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give good things to them that ask?” (Matthew 7:11) Jesus was contrasting the actions of an earthly father to the Heavenly Father. The comparison always leaves mere mortals looking evil by comparison. When I think of my own father tying me to that boat, insuring that I would be safe from the undercurrent of the ditch, it makes me reflect on the actions of my Heavenly Father. Who by comparison must also hold me tightly, ensuring that I will not drown in the undercurrents of this world. My Heavenly Father loves me. He will never let me go. It is good to loved. It is better to be fully known, and still loved. Only God is capable of knowing us completely and loving us fully! And He does.
I have often thought that there is nothing I would not do for my children. When they ask, I respond. If I have this kind of love for my children, if my dad had that kind of love for me, how much must I be loved by a perfectly good and all-powerful God, who describes Himself to me as a Heavenly Father? A Father for loves me for who I am becoming and not just who I have been. Levees were popular and necessary in the Delta to protect the fertile farm land from the flooding of the Mississippi. It was often the planter’s son who would walk along the levee with a lantern and a gun. The lantern would give light and the gun would provide protection from wild animals and vagrants. Light and heat, if you will. Jesus the Son of God walks the levees of our lives with the light of His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. So that when the levees of our flimsy attempts at protection give way to the flood of life, we are even still safe and secure to become everything He intends.