May 8 2011

A Wonderful Day

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

Yesterday I decided to check out a spot in Virginia I had heard about some time ago.  All I really knew was that there were three waterfalls on a short trail at this particular location.  This spot is less than an hour and a half from where I live but I had never been to it.  After an incredibly wonderful experience there I can only wonder why I did not go sooner.

Why do we tend to take for granted our local settings?  When I went to Hawaii last month I looked forward with great anticipation to photographing the waterfalls I would see there and yet there are some very nice waterfalls close by that I haven’t even visited.  Far too often we forget that there are natural treasures nearby if we will only take the time to visit them.

I suspect that my experience with the waterfalls has its parallels in the spiritual life.  We sometimes get to thinking that we can only encounter God at church, some special retreat or perhaps an inspirational concert.   We forget that He may be encountered anywhere and at any time.  It may be at church but it could just as well be in your own back yard.  It may happen at a nice retreat center somewhere but He may also make Himself known to you at a local park.  Sure God sometimes reveals Himself at inspirational meetings and concerts but He can also make Himself known through the singing birds outside your window or in a group of flowers in a nearby field.

In the Bible God makes Himself known in many different ways.  At times He was found in the clouds or in a fire.  He showed Himself to Moses in a burning bush and talked to Balaam through a donkey.  God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind and to the apostle Paul through a vision.  Obviously God also revealed Himself through the giving of the Law, through the various prophets He raised up, and nowhere clearer than when He took on human flesh in Jesus Christ.  But the message is clear; God has, can and will reveal Himself in numerous different ways and we need to be open to His movements wherever we happen to be.

God seemed close yesterday when I visited the Upper, Middle and Lower falls of Stony Creek.  In the crested dwarf irises, bluets, star grass and lousewort flowers I beheld something of His glory.  It was one of those days when I was reminded that God is full of surprises and that one need not travel far to behold the beauty of Creation or the beauty of the Lord.  It was a wonderful day indeed.

–Chuck

(These are three images I took yesterday.  The top one is Upper Falls; the second one is Lower Falls.  The third image shows tiny flowers known as bluets.  The Falls of Stony Creek can be found in the Jefferson National Forest in southwestern Virginia.)