One of my favorite psalms is the 104th chapter. In recounting the tremendous work of God in the creation and protection of all he made, we find an outline of the tremendous care God takes with each portion of his creation. He is not content to just "make", then sit back and see what will become - he nurtures and sometimes "coaxes" until creation comes into its fullness with his tender care. As I was driving on vacation in Tennessee this past week, one of the things which caught my eye was the water coming from deep inside the rocks on the side of the mountain. This was not water cascading from the top of a mountain stream, but coming from deep within the rock - almost from the middle of the rock formation. It brought to mind the passage below, when David pens the words, "You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns; earth is supplied with plenty of water."
You started the springs and rivers, sent them flowing among the hills. All the wild animals now drink their fill, wild donkeys quench their thirst. Along the riverbanks the birds build nests, ravens make their voices heard. You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns; earth is supplied with plenty of water. You make grass grow for the livestock, hay for the animals that plow the ground. (Psalm 104:10-14 MSG)
As I made my way through the winding hillside drives in this tremendously green region of our country, I was blessed with the beauty of the wildflowers all bursting with color, the many kinds of trees displaying their radiant colors in the gentle breezes of the Tennessee foothills, and the amazing springs of water from almost nowhere. The earth is certainly adorned well with God's handiwork!
There was something about that water which spoke the loudest to me, though. I think it may have been the sheer impossibility of man to have made something so beautiful and refreshing. Try as we might, we can only put what God has made through a process to get it even close to what comes forth from one of these deep springs of water. I am amazed we even try to expend the effort to do what God can do with such care!
Yet, the inability of man is always countered with the tremendous ability of our great God. Where man sees hardness and a lack of life, God has a way of coaxing something which not only flows, but is refreshing in all it touches. I guess this is really why the springs spoke so loudly to me - they are coaxed by God's hand and not by some human effort. There is something awe-inspiring about the amount of attention God gives to each detail in our lives which needs a little "coaxing" to actually reach the surface and to begin to flow from within. He doesn't do it through manipulation, as would be the case of a well drilled deep into the earth's surface. Nope! He gently tends that water, bringing it closer and closer to the surface with nothing more than his touch and his voice! I am encouraged to know God doesn't use huge drills to accomplish his purposes in our lives - he uses the tenderness of his touch and his word!
The water which flowed had a purpose - not just to dazzle me with its beauty, but to nurture the growth around it. Tiny critters will drink deep of its refreshing, being renewed in their inner being by what has so tenderly been prepared for their intake. Even the flowers which bloom will be brought the nutrients necessary to coax forth the growth they will display. All because of water from the rock!
What God spoke the loudest to me in the times of taking in this site was the ability of God to draw forth something of such refreshing and renewing from the hardest of places. He does this in our own lives, as well. In the hardest of places, through the coaxing of God's touch and his voice, the hardness yields to the building pressure of his coaxing. In time, the tiniest of openings develops, allowing what he desires to have come forth to escape its cisterns of captivity within. God has a way of bringing forth some of the most beautiful things from the hardest places of our lives. We don't need to give him a huge opening to accomplish his purpose - just the tiniest of openings suggests the beginnings our yielded will. There is something of a release which occurs when we finally begin to allow the hardness to be yielded. But...don't for a moment miss what I am about to say. The hardness is not "broken down" from the outside! The rocks yield from the inside out! The water comes from the inside - the rocks yield to the pressure within, not the pressure without.
Sometimes I think we expect just the opposite. We want God to drill into our lives, while he is already at work bubbling up what he has prepared as the very thing which will break through the hardness of the protective barrier we have formed on the outside! Wouldn't it be something to find out we have been holding back exactly what we need to see the hardest places of our lives finally penetrated by his grace? Some call this a miracle - I will just call it a "break-through". Just sayin!