Gaping holes and grace

by You Have My Word

Natural springs are beautiful. They’re mysterious, they run deep, they break open in unexpected places and less-than-favourable conditions. Springs gush open in deserts, forests, barren lands, mountain crevices. They are a source of life, yet their source can often not be traced. As far as I know, they don’t dry up. They sustain cities. They replenish communities where drought has stolen and destroyed.

Natural springs may be deep underground for hundreds of years before ever seeping through. No matter how long they lie dormant before being discovered, though, the water contains a freshness that cannot be matched – not even by rain.

My heart is sometimes that hard, dry ground. At times when I least expect it, life bursts forth in areas I never expect to see any growth at all. I know my source is in God, as is my strength and my every breath. So if you ask me where this life comes from, I can say “God”. But for you that may not answer anything at all. Maybe this will:

I have days when my desire to punch someone in the face simmers just below the surface for more hours than I have the patience to keep my fists clenched at my side. I have conversations when in my mind all I can string together are four letter words and profanities that would make convicts and sailors blush.

In these times, when what should be acidic volcanic ash engulfing all things just ahead of my step, I see life. And I unclench my fists to shake hands with a stranger. I hold my tongue. I compliment and speak love instead of hate. These are the natural springs that run deep and surprise and revive. These are springs I don’t know are there. These are springs that I go back to because they are pure and clean.

Springs are difficult things. (I don’t mean for that line to sound funny at all.) What happens when they don’t force their way to the surface by themselves? What happens when thousands of people need only a drop of water before they lose all life in their limbs, but no liquid is to be found?

Holes need to be dug. Water needs to be coaxed from parched land. More man hours than can be spared, are spent ripping up rocks and tearing terrain to release what should naturally bore towards the sun. Men may dig for days, or they may dig for years. They may dig many holes, or one big hole deeper and deeper till drills bore through and spades hit source.

And so my heart is much the same. And so the work of God is much the same. And so gaping holes must be bored into my what-feels-like-flesh heart. And it hurts like a drill through my head. And it’s messy and loud and people watch. And so it is necessary before any life pours forth, that we bore gaping holes. Gaping holes cannot be easily covered. Gaping holes are surrounded by rubble and cluttered, broken bits of what-ifs and what-could-have-beens. The depth of a gaping hole cannot be determined before you start digging.

The secret of springs is that the water has always been there and merely needs an outlet. Sometimes a clean cut path does the trick. Other times it’s a rough task clearing out whatever is blocking the flow. But it will flow.

Because God is my source, the life has always been there. Sometimes a clean cut path is severed through lies and sin and hate and pride and greed and fear, to reveal grace and patience and joy and love. Other times it’s a rough, ugly, battering task to clear out heavy, deep-seated, long-lasting pains and stones of self-obsession. But when I stand aside allowing God with spade in hand to burrow where metal hits rock and iron severs heart rot, then the life begins to flow. Grace makes space for growth.

God is digging gaping holes in my heart and soul – new ones where life needs to flow and closing old ones where water no longer goes. I pray it reveals an unclenched-fists kind of love like I’ve never seen – undiscovered, fresh, clean, healing streams.