Yesterday was a super-incredibly-chilled Sunday.
Which I honestly think the best possible Sundays should be.
Time with God. Time with people. Time in community.
In the post-church, pre-dinner time-slot, we took advantage of the brief respite in what has been this week’s crazy rain, and drove into the countryside. And then we parked up and hiked for about an hour into said countryside in order to find this waterfall that has a reputation for being like, super-incredibly-beautiful-and-awesome because it’s in a giant hole.
I know you’re probably not following that, but the place is literally called 穴滝 (hole-waterfall) in Japanese. Despite that, I still couldn’t quite visualise what this place was going to look like until we got there.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I describe that, let me talk about the journey.
Yep. The hike.
Now this waterfall is only 5km walk from where you can park, so it’s meant to be a pretty quick route. We’d heard the last 0.5km was rumoured to be a bit treacherous, but figured it couldn’t be invincible or anything crazy.
Confession. We also didn’t quite think through the repercussions of a week of solid torrential rain on the surrounding landscape. As in, you know, all the rivers are a lot higher than normal, the mud comes up to your ankles and the rocks are crazily slippy…
Yeah, those thoughts didn’t so much come into my mind until we set off.
And that first 4.5km wasn’t so bad. I mean, yeah, there were about 10 points where the entire pathway was flooded over, but you could use the trees on either side to climb round. And the mud was pretty crazy, but you expect that when you’re walking outdoors. So the walk took a bit longer than expected, but it was no problem.
But then there was the final 0.5km.
Which I imagine is just that scrambling when it’s dry. But when it’s wet… Well, you can’t scramble because everything you try and hold onto is slippy. And everything you try and jump onto is slippy. And when there is a path, the overflowing water is covering it, so that’s slippy too.
Anyway, let’s just say that this point of the walk was by far the most entertaining. It took about another 30 minutes. It included me getting covered in these tiny, sticky, green seeds that took over an hour to pick off my jumper afterwards, sliding down a couple of incredibly steep mud banks and then falling in a river.
Actually, that’s way too dramatic a description. I didn’t fall ‘in’ a river. I slipped on a rock, my feet went out from under me, but I managed to wedge myself over the river without getting wet. Like, my butt stopped about 1cm above the water, and if I’d been any skinnier, and therefore less wedged, I would have been completely immersed.
I think it looked about as elegant as I made it sound just there.
But here’s the thing.
This place was AWESOME. Like, despite my joking, (the walk was actually really fun and really beautiful), the waterfall itself was super-freaking-awesome.
This place was beautiful.
One of those nature spots that it’s really healing to be in because you can feel the Presence of the One who created it.
Maybe these pictures don’t do justice, but here’s a little peak.
Ok. Where am I going with this story?
Well, I guess I was thinking about the journey.
The journey that we all take with God over our lives, but also the way in which we journey this walk out in the each-and-every-day moments.
And sometimes those journeying moments are a little unexpected. They take us through rivers, through waters, through discomfort, and the journey takes longer than we expected it would.
It’s this process.
And yesterday reminded me again that God is truly interested in the process. He loves the process. He loves the journey. Because it’s the journey that prepares us, and refines us and purifies us. It’s the journey that positions us to receive what it is He’s promised us.
And in the journey the waters won’t overwhelm us and the rivers won’t wash us away (Isaiah 43).
But yesterday also reminded me of the promise. That God’s promises are certain, even when we can’t even imagine them from the start of the journey. He might give us a word or a picture or something that we see in part, but we can’t quite grasp it’s beauty. But we can trust that He is faithful. We can trust that His promises and His timings are faithful.
I don’t know where you are today. Maybe you’re journeying. Maybe you haven’t set out yet. Maybe you’ve been travelling a long time. Maybe you’re losing sight of the vision. Maybe you’re doubting. Remember, God’s with you in this process and He’s faithful. He’s kind. He loves us so well. We can trust Him.