Last year, our family moved to a home in the country. Cows next door, can’t see my neighbors, beautiful views in every direction. It has been a place of deep rest for this introvert, regularly thanking God as in Psalm 18:19 for “bringing me out into a spacious place.”
I paint this picture of our rural Eden for the contrast ahead. As you might imagine, some of the roads around here are gravel, as is the case less than a half-mile from where I live. One of my very favorite things to do is take a walk down that road until I get to a high bridge overlooking a peaceful Moreau River. Most days this is where I pause, offer a brief prayer and intention for the day, then head back.
Of course, the very first time I ever walked to this bridge I didn’t know what I would find. I didn’t know I was going to pass a beautiful farm. I didn’t know there would always be two horses, one sway-backed and speckled, one sleek like Black Beauty. I didn’t know about the gurgling creek or the funny flock of turkeys. But, most of all, I didn’t know that in the middle of all this beauty I was going to have my brain and eyes seared by the graffiti that “decorates” this bridge overlooking the beautiful river.
Y’all, I am not kidding. I could sit in a room for hours trying to think really filthy thoughts and I wouldn’t come up with some of the stuff on this bridge. There are curse words everywhere. The racist and sexist language and images are at the least upsetting, if not disturbing. And the (ahem) anatomy. My heavens. It’s a full-on lesson in human sexuality. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
So, why am I sharing about a graffiti-covered bridge over a beautiful Missouri river? Because God created such a sweet moment for me last fall, likely while I was standing smack on top of a rather colorful adaptation of drugs or genitalia.
That day, as I looked upriver with the early mist still rising, a deer stepped down from the bank. I’m really not trying to over-spiritualize it, but it was truly breathtaking. The song from Psalm 42 began in my mind, “As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee” and I snapped a couple of pictures. She crossed slowly, stepping out on the other side, disappearing just as quickly as she arrived.
I stood there for quite a while, thinking about the beauty of that deer contrasted with the mess I was standing in on the bridge and teared up just a bit. It just felt like God was saying, “Nothing is too messy for Me, my child. I can always come to you, wherever you are.” Because, while this girl may not be spending time defacing bridges, I’m for certain making mistakes and messes somewhere. Of course, we all are.
Dear reader, today was just an opportunity to remind us no matter what mess we’re in, God can meet us there. We’ve never needed to be cleaned up for Him to show up. And, we’ve never needed to be anywhere near perfect for Him to cross right in front of us when we need Him most.
“As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee”
Blessings on your beautiful, messy day.