Out my back door and down the hill, three ponds lay tucked in the woods. A small creek filled with the cleanest water you’ve ever seen has faithfully slipped over red rocks and dead leaves day after day, and now all three ponds are brimming. The only regular visitors to this spot are Sam’s four bull calves and me.
I go there to hear directly from God.
You can believe what you want to, but four years ago, when I was dangling from the end of my rope, I found places in the Bible where Jesus himself said:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
Since no one was around to tell me otherwise, I believed him, and today, I hear him best on the bank of the biggest pond. His voice is like a low whisper, almost like a distant train you can feel more than hear. If the voice in my head is a fiddle, then God’s is an upright bass.
“Get a rock and throw it in.”
I’d heard this before. Last week in fact and I did it, even though I was thinking, “I get where you’re going Jesus, but the ripple metaphor is a little tired.” Then I recalled something I always say when explaining the work of the LA Dream Center:
“The Dream Center,” I tell people, “is like ground zero, the epicenter. It’s like a love bomb went off in a rough part of LA and the shock waves rolled through the hood, leaving gardens, tidy lawns, freshly painted houses and families for miles in every direction.”
That’s what the love of God does. It spreads restoration, wholeness and order in all directions – like ripples.
But here’s why I had to toss a second rock in today: The ripples eventually dissipate, so somebody’s got to throw another rock. Somebody has to scribble their phone number on the church bulletin and hand it to the bleary-eyed dude on the back row, whose hung over presence is a miracle in itself.
Places like the LA Dream Center and Mercy Ships have armies of people with strong thighs and backs from years of grabbing hands and hoisting boulders together, chunking them into the water. But people like you and me can gather stones too. We can keep little ones in our pockets, not to throw at each other and at gay people and Muslims, but into the water of people’s lives, spreading shock waves of grace – no matter who they are.
“What are you waiting for?” I heard him say. “Throw more rocks! This is how we win. This is how the kingdom is built.”
It’s a fact that every rock makes ripples. So what kind of rocks are you throwing? And if they’re good ones, how often do you throw them?