Acts 4:13 – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
Grace explosions are such a thing of God. You can’t predict them and they engulf us and knock us down while carrying us and sustaining us. They can hurt and devastate our plans, while lifting our gaze and helping us see how small our view of God had been and how eternal our reality really is and how dependent we really are at the end of the day upon God’s grace and His abundant and enrapturing love.
This last week was packed with exciting explosions of Grace and Power from God here in Tuolumne County, wasn’t it, friends? This photo of lightning was taken here by a local while watching the storm around Phoenix Lake and throughout these mountains. Another explosion was the exciting unveiling if Her Name Is Leah as last posted about on this blog. Third, and what I would like to write about today was the burst in the Twain Harte Lake damn. Forgive my use of illustration and light-hearted use in some ways of something near and dear to us as a loss for our community. I believe there is a deep spiritual illustration to be pulled from this explosive occurrence.
Back in the day, I was one of the head lifeguards at Twain Harte Lake under Dennis, the lake’s manager. Anyone who has been involved with this lake would be able to join me to say that this is a very special lake. Apparently it has just experienced a cracking and explosive gushing from the damn that threatens to shut down it’s use for a long time. We all hope that this doesn’t happen, and yet it’s not looking good. Many residents of the county including me received emergency alerts on our phones regarding the potential bursting of this damn.
As I contemplated this yesterday evening another story came to mind from a friend, something that just occurred this last week. My mother-in-law whom I fondly call Momma Jackson has a dear friend named Terry. She went on a five day time away with God recently to fellowship with her Savior. While away she was deeply refreshed in God’s Word and sweet interaction and encouragement and comfort and clarity by our all-knowing and loving God.
A few days later Terry went to see her doctor. When he came into the room, he exclaimed, “Terry, you are glowing! What has happened to you?” He proceeded to draw her out about her retreat and couldn’t believe how much she was glowing, radiating the joy and peace of our God. He had to come back to the room after seeing other patients, asking each time he left if she could wait a while longer so he could ask more questions.
I woke up this morning pretty early while it was still dark to a healthy rain pouring over our county. I believe this all ties together in a refreshing way, so hang with me. I believe it’s applicable not only for Baby Boomers but for all ages.
We are comfortable, like the regulars at Twain Harte Lake. We want to sit and play cards and be secure and ride out this life with ease and celebrating our accomplishments. God is bursting our plans and pulling from our reserves to water a drought-ridden valley. He is breaking our hoardings and electrifying our vision to see Him and Christ’s death for us! We will pour down from both our abundance and poverty and insecurity and pride. We will break as a people in America and learn to serve again, learn to get away with God again, to become overwhelmed by His goodness and to be vessels to bear His grace to those we encounter day-to-day.
May we break willingly and not require God’s force and plundering of our hoardings (see Isaiah 30:12-17). Isaiah 30 paints an intense picture of a damn in our lives of our our pride and sinful scraping for self… “therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant…”
One last illustrative occurrence from this weekend… My wife and son and I live in the old family homestead across the meadow and creek from my parents’ dream house, so my son can literally go over the creek and through the woods to Grammy’s house. Just below our home is a fun swimming hole, only in existence because of my Popop building a damn every summer and then my Dad building a permanent damn there about ten years ago. The water is held back by boards slid down channels on each side of the creek to form a wall. We had someone trespass the other night and take some of the boards out of the damn. My Dad was upset appropriately, as was I, and he was able to catch the trespasser as he heard the trickling creek sounding like a river in the middle of the night.
I love this story because this “trespasser” ended up outing boards back and apologizing to my Dad, and then God brought us a nice rain to boost the flow today and hopefully give us a swimming hole again.
This swimming hole has become a real blessing for our friends and neighbors, and for me it’s illustrative of our responsibility to be kind stewards of the varied graces and the love of God so poured out on us as believers. We should constantly be looking for ways to pour out and serve instead of hoarding and building what will not stand in the final analysis .
May we spend out time and resources on giving instead of getting and blessing instead of cursing. America the Beautiful, God shed His grace on you!
May we pour out our abundance and show grace, and this hurting world will clamor to know what is so different about us! We will less and less be about introspective fears of our damns being poked and more and more about our swimming-holes being shared! May we seek to demonstrate the awesome grace we have been shown, living with a reckless abandon for our Redeemer together.
Overwhelmed by our Savior’s death for us this morning, friends. Let’s pray in thanks together.
Please forgive our self-seeking and insulating as a county, state, and nation! Please remind us if Your abounding grace, Your perfect love that casts out fear and overwhelms us with compassion and unmerited favor. Teach us to live with abandon and spend our time knowing and being known instead of performing or portraying prowess and self-sufficiency. I pray for our comfort to be found in You instead of our finances and others’ flattering of our egos. May we live out of the wholeness of Christian love more than American dreams fulfilled. May we never retire and sit on a shelf but rather see our value as God’s children to be present for one another and others with patience and joy and love, demonstrating the constancy and kind presence of our God. May our feet be beautiful to those we encounter today as we spread this peace and hope mysterious and awe-inspiring as it is! Thank You for breaking the damns of our pride and filling us with Your showers of grace. Electrify our hearts with gratitude and hope in Jesus Christ!
Much love to you, friends!