Tucked away in the plush forest around Big Sky, Montana, is an amazing feature of nature called Ousel Falls. Cascading about 100 feet downward into a basin of gorgeous rock, rock made smooth by the wet hands of time, it is a place that at once captivates and refreshes. It’s also a great place for skipping smooth stones across the placid spots below the falls, much to the delight of my girls and any others who would watch.
And, frankly, to my own delight.
Of course, this is the image that comes to my mind as I reflect on my spiritual maturity: not the delight of people, mind you, but the skipping of the rocks. Too often, for reasons I struggle to explain, my spiritual well-being is like that of a smooth stone skipping along the surface of something deep and mysterious and inviting. With little splishes and splashes the rock moves along, wildly, erratically, always touching the surface. Obviously, at some point the smooth stone gives up its journey across the water and succombs to the draw of the deep, but let’s not go that far or my illustration will break down.
I’m just thinking about the skippy, surface thing.
Often the product of whim and supposed chance, the skipping from one spot to another of a stone atop the water is a telling portrait of too many seasons of the journey of my soul. Rather than employing the precious gift of discipline, I move erratically with the Lord, landing here and there when I’m able, wobbly and often out-of-control. My routine seems random, almost carved by chance instead of true decision, and I con myself into believing that by touching what is deep I am therefore engaging what is deep.
But all I’m really doing is touching what is deep. And then I have the nerve, after skipping around awhile, to wonder why it is I feel so, well, disconnected from the Master; so out of touch with His heart. So shallow.
And it’s because I have allowed whim and supposed chance to drive me, forfeiting as it were the opportunity to sink right away into the rich waters of the Scriptures, where hearing the whisper of the Spirit is as prevelant as the roar of Ousel Falls, and where my whole person can be invigorated by the coolness of the ever-present Jesus. To rest on the bottom of the ancient pools, still and silent, is a privilege that I too commonly dismiss. Skipping along seems more exciting, and requires little of me by way of connection with anything big, for most of the time, when I’m skipping, I’m in the air, desperately trying not to be too attached to something that will force me deep where the pressure can transform me and soften my rough places. Skipping is freedom, I think, except that there really is no freedom for the stone. It’s held hostage, after all, to forces that manipulate it and leave it somewhat dry.
Oh to just sink; and remain, still and silent, living out Psalm 46:10, where I am made special under the pressure which is the weight of . . . Majesty.