The water rushed down the rocks with alarming force, creating a reverent atmosphere.
A waterfall? In New Jersey?
Though nothing in size compared to major waterfalls, this majestic sight was foreign to my experience. No landscape in my neck of New Jersey has the privilege of being adorned with a waterfall, but these scene-stealers frequently grace the ridges of the Northern region of the state.
My soul was filled with awe at such a tremendous sight, and my mind began to race with words describing that unreal visage. Such majesty, such dominion, such force...
Change. That's the verbiage that best describes a waterfall. Change is a word that covers all aspects of a waterfall's nature: past, present, future. I wondered what the falls looked like when the Native Americans roamed freely through this beautiful area. I can't help but imagine the waterfall as a pristine, solid rockface, slowly starting to feel the changing presence of a small trickle of water
I wondered how the surroundings would appear fifty years into the future. What rocks would still be standing? Which stones would be ground to a fine, powdery mix?
No matter what the starting point for the waterfall, and no matter its ending place, the area would be in a constant state of change because of the powerful waterway that made the rocks its home. Status Quo means nothing when rushing waters take hold of an area; it will always know change.
To some, the idea of change is repugnant. The very notion of a shake-up in a well-ordered routine is enough to cause heart-failure for some people. "Why mess with perfection?", they reason, as their days rip away with an eerie sameness.
At one point in my life, I reasoned along those lines as well. I was the poster-child for invariability. I remained in this seemingly immutable state until I let the river of the Holy Spirit have its way in my life. Then the changes came with alarming frequency.
The idea of change has a huge place in the Bible. A Creator looks at His recently fallen creations, and waits for the day when he can change their hearts permanently, restoring their precious fellowship. An obedient family waits in an ark for the waters to recede, with no idea what they'll find once this new world is theirs. Frightened disciples wait in an upper room for the Holy Spirit, a gift that would change them from fearful followers to bold believers.
The idea of change in scripture is huge; to deny it is to to deny the Christian experience itself.
Change for a person without Christ can, and should, be frightening. Without the Rock of Ages as a firm foundation, life can seem nothing more than quicksand, ready to suck a person down with each new development.
But for the believer in Christ, change is an exciting and dynamic prospect. The Christian can lift his head up high, and march boldly into a changing situation, fully aware that the change is an outpouring of God's love.
In fact, change will give a Christian hope, because change affirms the constancy of God: "While the earth remains, Seedtime and Harvest, and Cold and Heat, and Summer and Winter, and Day and Night shall not cease;" "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ." Whenever change is witnessed, whether in nature or in our personal lives, we know an unchanging God is still orchestrating each circumstance for His glory.
Staring at the waterfall, I couldn't help but be awed at the magnificent changes that water can produce. The Native Americans who once knew this land so well would be stunned to see the waterfall as it is today; in fifty years, the river may make this area unfamiliar to my eyes. As long as that river has its way, change will occur.
Looking inward, I saw a young man, ripe with trepidation at the big changes that loomed on the horizon. The fear of the unknown effects of each alteration struck chords of terror in those unknown regions of the heart. Everything said to run, run from the changes, run from the horizons.
However, those thoughts of escape were soon overtaken by thoughts of a loving Father; a spiritual guardian who knew the changes I would face before the foundation of the world. I thought about a Son; a Heavenly brother whose appearance I am changing into everyday. I thought of the Holy Spirit; a River of Living Water that saw me transformed into a new creation; an agent of change that will renew me daily.
The thought that this God-head was instituting each change was a comfort beyond words. Instead of running from the changes, I ran towards them, with arms wide open. Lifting my Spirit toward Heaven, I committed each change into the hands of an all-knowing God...
And let the River flow.