There was a place in the Big City where the presence of God hung a little lower than usual. Low enough that it extended down from heaven and touched the world of mortal men. Do you know of such places?
There are certain locations on the earth that possess a mysterious power to still the mind, calm the heart, and fill the soul. You don't have to work at it to commune with God in these places. Like Anne of Green Gables says, you just "feel a prayer."
The Lake was this type of place. The Lake was Father to all. It was a soft teddy bear; a silky scarf; a tender kiss between righteousness and peace. In the midst of urban apartment life with voices constantly beneath, above, and beside you, the Lake was quiet. It was our backyard oasis.
When something was pressing heavy on your mind, you went to the Lake to think about it. When you were joyful and needed a place to celebrate, you went to the Lake. When you wanted to experience the bonds of deep friendship, you met up at the Lake.
The Professor and i went there all the time. We went together, to walk hand-in-hand and talk of many things. We went alone, to think, feel, or pray. Without that sacred place, life in the city would have been soul-crushing.
When we moved to the Kingdom of the Cornstalks, one of the first orders of business was to find a new Lake. Another place that fulfilled the same purpose. It seemed natural that Cornstalk River would be to the Kingdom of the Cornstalks what the Lake was to the Big City.
The locals feared Cornstalk River. Whereas the Lake demonstrated the gentle, loving nature of God, Cornstalk River exhibited His fearsomeness. Cornstalk River was not a tame lion. Three years before we arrived, Cornstalk River had flooded and caused significant damage. The city was JUST starting to rebuild but wasn't sure if it could open its heart to the River again. Cornstalk River was a place where angels feared to tred.
After sadly crossing Cornstalk River off the list of possible God-places, i searched for new ideas. Except, i couldn't find anything. I could not for the life of me figure out how people could live like this??? WHERE ON EARTH do they take their hearts to be renewed?
At long last, after living here for six years, i found it! I found the God-place!
Unfortunately, it is somewhat remote and not easily accessible. To get to the Lake, all we had to do was walk east for one block. The new God-place is off of a hiking trail in a state park.
On our family adventure today, we went hiking in a new place. We could see a glorious-looking bank on a river, but had to work hard to find a way to get to it. After veering off the path and cutting through some vines, we made it! And the instant we stepped foot on the riverbank, we felt the magic. The air, the sky, the enchantment—it was all there. Sunny and Bright Eyes felt it. Dimples was having the kind of day where being two years old was a little too distressing, but i know she will feel it in time. While we were there, time froze and our cares melted away. When it was time to leave, we all felt refreshed.
No wait, i take that back. We all felt EXHAUSTED! The trek back was a very steep uphill climb. The ever-energetic Sunny and Bright Eyes ran up ahead, but soon they too were huffing and puffing. Dimples was riding in the Ergo on The Professor's back and said, "This is hard work!" You know a trail is hard when even being carried on it is difficult!
We arrived at the van sweaty and thirsty with hearts pumping from exercise. And yet, here is evidence that the God-place was real: no one was grumpy! The car ride home was filled with people living in that satisfaction that comes from a meaningful experience.
It remains to be seen if this new God-place can take a permanent place in my life due to its remoteness. But at least for that one time, i could breathe the free air. One day, the dwelling place with God will be with His people. He will wipe away their tears and make all the sad things come untrue. Until that day, i hope to find more places where God comes down and walks with men in the cool of the day.
In the Garden
(Grandma Mac's favorite hymn)
I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses
and the voice i hear, falling on my ear
the Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me
and He tells me i am His own
and the joy we share as we tarry there
none other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet, the birds hush their singing
and the melody that He gave to me
within my heart is ringing.
I'd stay in the garden with Him,
though the night around me be falling
but He bids me go, through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.