On Columbus Day Weekend, Pat and I took our youngest three children to Saugerties for our last camping trip of the year. It was a beautiful weekend and we had a great time.
On Sunday, we went to Opus 40. Built on an abandoned bluestone quarry, Opus 40 is a six acre sculpture of finely fitted rocks and boulders, rising in ramps and swirling terraces around ice cold springs, stone figures, fountains, and trees.
It is the work of one man, Harvey Fite, who labored for 37 years using just his hands and traditional quarryman’s tools. He died in an accident three years short of his planned completion date. On Sunday, the sky was a deep blue, the trees were dressed for autumn, and there was a bit of chill in the air. It was a perfect fall day. Pat and I kept the kids in sight, but really the place was nothing but rock - what could they possibly break?
The kids clambered about the rocks, skipping down stone staircases and crossing bridges. We explored this amazing place. There was something to see at every turn.
Heading down one set of stairs brought you to a narrow hallway, called the subterranean passageway, that circled around the bottom of the terrace.
Although open at the top, it was so cold down there you could see your breath.
The sun felt wonderful when you emerged into the amphitheater.
Patty and Anthony sat down to rest on one of the terraces. I called for nine year old Connor to join us, but he pretended not to hear me and headed back to the subterranean passageway. I knew the passage would send him out close to where we were headed so I did not go after him. On the way to the other two, Pat and I passed by one of the springs, a circular pool completely covered in bright green duck weed.
Patty snapped a picture of Pat and I. Looking over her shoulder I could see Connor skipping down the ramp towards us. All of a sudden, I heard Connor screaming, “Mom! Mom!” The mom in me registered the cry as scared not pained. Still Connor was not in sight. I began to run toward where I heard his cries coming from. Even more frightening to me, a man nearby was also running. It was clear that he could see my son. Connor was in the icy water of the spring swimming toward a staircase. The man stepped down the staircase that led into the pool and pulled my prodigal son out. Connor stood there shivering, soaking wet, with duck weed in his curls, his glasses miraculously still on his face. My husband snapped his picture. (The man in the red shirt was his rescuer.)
Now that he was safe, I wanted to shake him, after all this was the boy who wanted to swim at Niagara Falls.
“How on earth did you end up in the pool?” Connor rapidly explained that when he jumped down the staircase he didn’t realize it was water at the bottom. Connor thought that he would be jumping onto mossy ground. He was shocked when he found himself in deep, cold, water. Fortunately, Connor was not injured during his adventure and he had dry clothes in the truck to change into. We thanked Connor’s unknown rescuer profusely.
There comes a time in each of our lives when the ground beneath us slips away. When our supports are knocked from under us. When our world is turned upside down. Suddenly, without warning we are in deep waters, gasping, cold, frightened, treading water and swimming with all we’ve got. We can’t touch bottom. There are waters of sickness, poverty, guilt, sorrow, job loss, and grief.
If you are struggling in deep water, do not fear, because our Savior walks on water.
There is no water over Jesus’ head. There is no problem that He can not handle. He is the God who can ransom, redeem and restore. In His great mercy He gives us beauty for ashes. And a garment of praise instead of despair. We can trust Him in the deep waters, no matter what.
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
The psalmist doesn’t say that there won’t be trials of deep water. He says He is our Savior in them.
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