Nooks, Crannies, and Waterfalls

Hiking a mountain trail beside a river is a feast for our senses. 

The melody of ripples or rushing water,  breathing the fresh air, and gazing at God’s artistry in nature lifts us up.

I recently hiked a mountain trail in western North Carolina.  Along the way, rocks of all sizes filled the river. In some formations, the water moved gently around the rocks allowing a smooth flow. In others, waterfalls fell over rocks at dizzying speeds. 

In opposite fashion, the openings between rocks were so close together that the flow grew into a trickle. Water was trapped in some holes in the rock tops with no way of escape until thunder clouds dropped heavy rains. 

Looking at all the rock formations and the water flow reminded me of our lives. The ebbs and flows change life's scenery. In some seasons, life is smooth.  Our job is secure. We successfully finished college or technical school. Our family is healthy. Our relationship with the Lord is invigorating. Maybe we are looking forward to that bucket list vacation. Life is flowing nicely.  The music of peace and calm surrounds us.

At other times, life rushes at us like a waterfall. It moves too fast; we feel out of control.  We are too busy. Too stressed.  Another season finds life turned upside down. A loved one dies. A child gets sick. A romance flourishes then dies.  The Lord seems far, far away. A friend is mentally ill. Our church is falling apart. The list is endless. We are like the water trapped in a rock hole with no way out.   

Most of us experience the nooks, crannies, holes, trickles, and flows of the Christian life. 

Whatever rocks we encounter in life's rivers, we can count on the Rock of our Salvation by drawing from King David’s words in Psalm 18:2,  “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Sometimes we must repeat this verse over and over and over until we regain our spiritual balance. 

The highly educated Roman citizen Saul who once operated like a hit man, experienced many challenging seasons after his Damascus Road encounter with his Jewish Messiah. Stoned, imprisoned, put on trial, shipwrecked, Paul's  relationship with Jesus sustained him in the best and worst of circumstances. Here is how he put it in Philippians 4:11-13 

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

Whether you are “between a rock and a hard place” or grateful for a season of favor and joy flowing into your life, embracing biblical truths and the Rock of our Salvation offers a way to navigate the ebbs and flows of life.  

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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