July 23, 2010

The Inconvenience of Purity

Anyone who wonders about how the world works has surely spent time on the banks of a river or stream or creek and wondered “where does all this water come from?” This question has occurred to me often when I am backpacking and either camped near, or hiking along, or crossing a full-flowing, year-round stream. How does it just keep flowing and flowing and flowing?

The answer, my friend, really is blowing in the wind. God, in his infinite wisdom, has invented a truly perfect system of water purification and transport and storage. Pure water is deposited in the form of rain or snow high up in the mountains, and it flows by gravity to its millions of users (plants, animals, men) who progressively use and dirty the water. The dirty water continues to flow until it reaches some filthy low point – like a sewage pond – whereupon it is evaporated by the sun, completely purified, gathered in clouds, transported back to the mountains by the wind, and again redeposited as rain or snow for our use and enjoyment. It’s pure. It’s free. It’s perpetual. It’s perfect. It’s beautiful.

And it is inconvenient. Let’s face it, all the good stuff notwithstanding, who says “Hurrah!” when it rains on their picnic? Who hopes it will rain on their wedding day (like it did on my daughter’s wedding day this past May)? And what sane backpacker do you know who hopes it rains while they are out? Or who hopes the snow hasn’t fully melted yet by mid-July so they can get their boots and socks cold and wet slushing through soggy snow?

We had soggy snow and ice and lots of rain to contend with on our recent backpack trip. Sure, we like the fresh, clean, pure water. But why, God, can't you deliver it when it's convenient for us? This dilemma popped up again in a different form in one of our evening devotions when Bud decided to invite Tom, Steve and me to attend the Walk To Emmaus conference in Fresno. Sure, Bud, we want to be clean and pure and to experience God's love to the full, but really, a four day conference which takes up a whole weekend in the summer is not convenient.

Surely God can find a way to deliver pure water and purity in our lives in a way that's convenient and easy for us? Ah, well, the rain and the snow and the so-called "hardships" and the "wading in the water" we endured on this trip weren't so bad after all. Believe it or not, we kind of enjoyed them. Maybe I will attend that conference after all.
Attribution: All pictures in this post were taken by Tom Overstreet.

1 comment:

  1. Rain makes corn, corn makes....well haha thats one man who also seems to be okay with rain. For a while I was finding the afternoon rains here to be convienient in that it cooled off our apartment. Now not so much because it means the kids get antsy inside. The grass is always greener or the rain is always more convienient of the other side!