Thursday, February 7

The River of Joy: Reflecting on Grace

The river of joy flows down to the lowest places. ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional

Ann has it right. The river of joy flows down, finding every crevice, every canyon, every valley, until it is bursting, surging, with rivers of living, joyous water, quenching the thirst of the parched and dry heartland, and giving drink to the weary saint. Not only does it refresh, renew, and impart a flood of joy, it also reflects. Its transparency reflects all the world around--all the beauty, all the imperfections--the very face of God and all of His graces in our lives--all a part of the breathtaking watercolor picture of our lives. It is heavy and it drowns, and yet it is weightless and it is life. The cold streams of water carry lifeblood.
One may dive into its depths and see the world from a whole new perspective, find hidden beauty, see through the joy lens. Another may float above that glorious world, held up by fountains of joy, and gaze into the stillness and see there reflected all peace. There is peace in joy. Love in joy.
The petals fall, and they are held on the water. Their beauty only seems to magnify when touched by water.
Take a deep breath. Stoop low. Bend your knees, and lower your head. Gaze into the joy water, catch hold of the peaceful reflection, dive under the cold surface into the beautiful world beneath. Saturate yourself in God's almighty love. Discover His secret blessings to you, find the hidden treasure of His Word, search for His graces---in your joy world, all filled up with living water. The hot, licking flames of hatred, anger and bitterness are snuffed out with a douse of cold water. That water that turns to steam and raises praise to God. That steam that settles and clings to objects, to reflect more of all that its Creator has made, to bring glory to Him.

This water surges, crashes, with resounding sound--chiseling away rock, creating sand. God seems to be amusing Himself with His own kind of fireworks display, creating His own entertainment, showing off His mighty work. As He causes the water to come forth, foaming and spraying, curling, and mounting to a thundering wave, He lets out a booming laugh that shakes the foundations of the earth: See what I have created?! See all that I have made?! It is glorious! And it is beautiful! I created this all for you, for you to enjoy, and to show you My Greatness. I am Great, I am Wonderful, and I put this all together, I knit you in your mother's womb. I care for you and I love you deeply. Take joy in My creation, and find peace in My presence. 
And as the wave crashes down, I am filled with unspeakable joy, unutterable peace. My heart swells with each swelling wave; my joy bursts forth with each burst of spray.
How endless is Your creation, Oh God. How vast Your heavens! From the infinite skies to the depths of the sea, from the calm and the still, to the rough and the shrill.
And how even greater and more infinite You are, Oh Holy One! May I always seek to find more of You. To pursue finding beauty in the ashes; grace in the reflection; comfort in the cold. For where Your presence is, there is fullness of joy.

As the water chisels rock, let it chisel you. Let God's joy shape who you are. A cold, dark rock-heart can be turned into a warm, sparkling soft sand-heart. If only you will left the rivers of joy flood over your soul. Let the water seep into every crevice, until you burst with life.

And I ride the undulating wave of grace, this lifting higher and higher in grace, the surging crest of joy, and this plunging lower and lower in humble thankfulness only to rise yet higher in grace. ~ Ann Voskamp

The Pristine Piuva Tree of Brazil, photo, from
Ocean picture, image credit: Franklin O'Donnell