Monday, April 26, 2010

A Gathering Place for Grace

For months during this past winter as I drove back and forth in my car, I peered down into an area near the highway. Large earth moving vehicles lumbered back and forth, some digging, some pushing, some loading and some carting away the rock and soil that filled the spot. Deeper and deeper they dug. Some days it just looked as if they were shuffling the dirt from place to place, other days it looked as if they were at a standstill, doing nothing. It did not make sense.

“What is happening down there?” I repeatedly asked myself and the children. “What in the world are they doing?”

Over time, the hole got bigger and bigger and deeper and deeper. One day, trucks began to disappear. Sheets of grass were planted along the rim of the big hole in the ground and a small island was created in the middle.

I watched and wondered.

And then gradually, as the spring weather warmed, the ground began to thaw, snow began to melt and rain began to fall. Slowly, the great big hole gathered water. Every day it seemed to fill up more and more; the more the snow melted and the more it rained, the more water collected. The sky reflected off the water and the wind rippled across it, giving the water an appearance of fine corduroy. It was beautiful.

Gradually, I noticed ducks and geese visiting the giant watering hole. I saw them landing, resting and then taking off again, like airplanes on landing strips. Some sat on the shore; others swam in the water. Where there once was no place of refuge, now there was. The water brought life. It provided food, refreshment and rest. It was a sanctuary.

Are there not places, dear reader, in our hearts that feel as if they are being excavated?

We may ask, “What is happening? What in the world is going on?” It is hard to make sense of it and too incomprehensible to believe that there is anything good that will come out of it.

And, yet, it is as if God is digging deep in order to make a special place. It is here in the places that God chooses to hollow out, that we are then filled with the grace of God, for the benefit of our faith and for the faith of others. The thawing of the winter times and the rain like tears of our sorrows and joys are gathered together by Him. Here the winds of the Holy Spirit ripple across the surface, revealing His presence, and the light of Jesus is reflected. Here in this special place of His grace, others may come for hope, to be refreshed, to rest and to be fed.

Take heart, dear reader, be patient with the work that God is doing in your life. The excavation process can be difficult and painful, but it takes time for the excavation and it takes time to be filled. Trust Him in the process (He is right there with you!) , and believe that He will use your life in a beautiful way, for He has a plan and a purpose just for you (Jeremiah 29:11).


mamabear said...

So, so beautiful, Andrea. Your blog is a wonderful place to visit!

My husband is underemployed right now and we are down to one working car for our family of six. Although the past few years have built my faith considerably, I confess that right now I am worried our van will not pass a smog inspection, leaving us with out a vehicle, until we can afford to address what might be wrong with the muffler. I know God will provide, but these monetary issues can be so draining emotionally.

All this to say, I needed some encouragement this evening! Thank you for your beautiful posts! I love that trials build our faith, but this one is dragging on a long time, due to the economy.

Peace to you, Andrea!

Betsy said...

Hi Andrea, I loved your "excavation of the heart" thought. We can all relate and take hope from the picture you painted with words. Thanks!

mamabear said...

Thank you for the prayers this morning! Last night I investigated the smog inspection situation and found that one can obtain an extension for financial hardship, allowing one to keep driving the vehicle. Praise the Lord for that!

I'm just so glad to have found your blog! I believe I found it from the So You Want to Be Published Blog? What a blessing!

Andrea @ Unfailingly Loved said...

Dear Mamabear:

So glad to hear of the extension. God gives us just what we need when we need it. Hard to believe sometimes, but true. Keep trusting in Him and waiting on Him.

He loves you so very much!

Thanks for the encouragement regarding the blog. Glad that God is using it to help.

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