Yesterday, we walked up a valley to a waterfall. It wasn’t far from where we’ve been living for the past thirteen years but, somehow, we’d never been there before. The footpath wound upward, crossing the stream several times, and we came to a number of small cascades. Was this it? we kept wondering. But we pressed on. It would be a shame to have missed something even better. Then, quite unexpectedly, we rounded a corner and there it was, a proper waterfall.
We sat, watching it as we ate our lunch. It was good to have persevered to the end. We were sitting under a great overhang in the sandstone rock where, over the years, the cascading water had gouged it out. The falls were beautiful, surrounded by autumn trees. Every now and then, the sun came out, shining on the frothy water.
I felt God reminding me that the water of life is both powerful and beautiful, capable of wearing away the most rock-hard heart and, at the same time, bringing delight and refreshment to those who love His Spirit. He was also reminding me that we often need to make an effort to reach the place in our walk with the Lord where we will truly appreciate all that He has for us and can be for us. I think He must wonder why ‘we haven’t been there before’.
When we set out on our walk, we knew that there was a waterfall at the end. We’d seen it on the map and twice, talking to people in the nearby village, they’d asked if we were going to see it. People obviously thought it was worth the effort. But a map and a recommendation are a far cry from actually seeing it for ourselves. Even a picture wouldn’t have been half as good. As it was, we walked back down the valley feeling refreshed and invigorated.
On the way we passed a lady, who asked if it was hard to get there, as the waymark said another mile to go. “Oh, yes”, we said; “But worth every bit of it!”
In the same way, whatever it takes to truly encounter the life-giving presence of the living God, it’s always worth every bit of it. It might take time. It might involve dealing with ‘stuff’ in our lives. It might mean that we have to make changes in how we live. But it’s always worth it.
You might like to meditate for a few moments on these words: ‘What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!’ (1 Corinthians 2:9, CEV).
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