They call them 'secrets'.
The little spaces where piled rocks leave spaces for water to flow through. That space is where the secrets await to be discovered. The kids lean low and whisper to each other, searching, digging, moving the small pebble and the jagged boulder. Making room for more water to flow, uncovering more secrets. As they scoop with chilled hands, water unexpectedly dips deep and rushes fast below, dashing back and forth and dumping into a water hole.
Yes, the one we swam in last Summer.
The waterfall cascades behind us, glowing in the late afternoon sun. I crouch low on a slippery rock and snap photos of my world. Autumn leaves spatter the flowing crystal waters. Old Oaks tower above us and ancient plateaus of boulders surround on every side, bright green with moss. This is my world? I almost tear up at the thought of the grace overflowing this place.
Secrets. Yes, the whole world is full of God's massive and minute secrets. All of them holy and all of them miraculous and all of them here by the hand of God the Creator. And above all and over all flows His grace. The grace that finds us in the empty places. The spaces in between. The dark, hidden places we all have - just waiting to be washed clean by the Everlasting Water, Christ Jesus.
The secret places.
I look on in awe as the kids remove pebbles and rocks and watch the water flow freely where it once was all stopped up. They sure do have a system to this. Scout out the most beautiful, yet plugged up place. Figure out where the water might flow through, if it could. Start digging. Burst out in joy when the rocks are finally removed and the flow increases to a full-out roar.
They could do this for hours. I smile, pensive.
Isn't this just like God's grace?
It blasts forth with mighty power, always flowing, always ready to cover the whole wide world. Just like that cascading waterfall we hear in the distance, He is mighty and awesome and always ready to pour and fill.
But there are rocks and pebbles and muck and dirt and leaves and all things both beautiful and filthy that seem to stop up the flow. Sometimes it seems life itself stops it, sometimes it seems other people stop it, sometimes we seem to stop it with our very hands.
Yes, we pile all kinds of 'stuff' around ourselves, so thick, so deep - there just isn't any time for God. No time for prayer, for reflection. No time to bow low, to embrace His creation. To find secrets by the foot of a waterfall.
Never mind embracing His grace, who has time to pause and think on such things?
And then we wonder why we can't figure out our emptiness. We wonder what has clogged joy. One day, it seems it just got tapped out. We got tapped out.
But friends - God's grace never stops flowing.
His abundant joy is always within reach. We can pile up possessions and distractions and idols and expectations and disappointments and all kinds of junk - but guess what? His grace and love still flows living water right on though. Even when we don't see it or feel it or acknowledge it - still, it is there.
Alex, in all his five-year-old cuteness whispers to me, "SECRETS! Mama! Secrets."
He's digging faster now, trying with all his might to pull a large rock out of a rut. A sister joins to help. The rock wiggles and gurgles as they finally pluck it right out. Cool water is sucked downward and spirals toward a leaf-littered flow. Children beam, in wide-eyed in wonder.
Grace finds us in here.
Right when we think the flow has stopped, there is still a way through, a secret place where Christ finds us. He is always with us, always begging us with gentle whispers to find Him right where we are. But do we respond?
Can we remove the distractions, the idols, the rocks of life? Can we actually make room for Him and feel the full impact of His flow of grace? The free gift of God's favor - undeserved, completely impossible to earn, but still - ours if we want it.
It's up to us to get on our knees and seek Him. To dig out those distractions. Those things that are stopping up the flow of joy in our lives. The places where we are saying a stubborn no to God's grace. Where we are choosing to be ungrateful instead of being bent in thanksgiving.
I mean, here we are - grace laden and surrounded by His majesty, safe in His arms. Every moment and every breath, a gift. Grace is life and life is, well, grace.
I pick up a fire red leaf from the river and gaze at its beauty. Here in my hand is the secret - finding that grace in every sweet, sacred moment. We clear the clutter and open our eyes and even a leaf becomes a reason to look up and let tears fall. The world is full of God's breath-taking glory and overflowing with His amazing grace.
Live with hands and hearts wide open this weekend, friends. Take time to breathe, bow low, and reach out to the one who gives every breath.
Written for Five Minute Friday with the prompt, "Grace".