dark water

We had the gift of being able to visit New Mexico a couple of weeks ago. Right at the base of the Santa Fe National Forest. It was like… being reborn to behold a mountain again. It had been far too long. As soon as we hit the foothills after a nearly thirteen hour day driving, we rolled down the windows. Breathing in the aroma of fresh cedars and what smelled like smokey rosemary, we watched the light fade from the sky. Stars bashfully began to twinkle in the gray of dusk, shadowing mesas all around. Winding roads with the wind in our hair, kids getting cold in the back seat, the eagerness of reaching our destination–it’s what I love about road trips.

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Our cabin was quaint and cozy, a picturesque location next to a soothing stream that split from the rambling river not much further beyond. It was tangible peace. Relief from the buzz of life’s expectations. Nature invited us to sit, still, play, enjoy God’s creativity and affection.

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July is the rainy season. The afternoon thunderstorms were welcome opportunities to snuggle by the wood burning stove until the sun would return again. Although, after a couple of days of some intense downpour, our stream turned, well, black. It was like a Willy Wonka dark chocolate river. You couldn’t see a thing. All our rock hunting ceased. Fishing got canceled.

The rains washed all the soot and dead brush from recent fires into the river. Once cool and reviving, now a steady flow of grime. It reminded me of me.

When life makes sense to me, when I’m free, clarity reigns, uninhibited by burdens– I’m that clean happy stream. Then sometimes, I get really muddy. It’s hard to make heads or tails, I’m lost in dark. Floating in the current, just hoping a break will come, some shaft of light giving guidance.

I was thinking about how this describes what goes on in my head, and I remembered, “even the darkness is not dark to you,” from Psalm 139. And I knew, that sometimes things have to get dirtier in order to get flushed out. All the while, moving steady in the stream of God’s love, care, and direction.

I mentioned this thought to a friend and she added that more storms may have to pour before the stream will run clear again. It’s true. And I will find rest in the flow of God’s perfect timing, His plan to make beautiful the mess.

In every believer there is darkness and light, and yet he is not to be named a sinner because there is sin in him, but he is to be named a saint because he possesses some degree of holiness. This will be a most comforting thought to those who are mourning their infirmities, and who ask, “Can I be a child of God while there is so much darkness in me?” Yes; for you, like the day, take not your name from the evening, but from the morning; and you are spoken of in the word of God as if you were even now perfectly holy as you will be soon. You are called the child of light, though there is darkness in you still. You are named after what is the predominating quality in the sight of God, which will one day be the only principle remaining.”

– Charles Spurgeon

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