Welcome to the 3rd installment in my mini-series An Invitation to Wonder; 7 Natural Wonders of the World. This series is not so much about learning the scientific facts surrounding these natural wonders, but for turning our eyes towards places which give us glimpses of glory and moments of awe.
So far I have written about the Great Barrier Reef and the Northern Lights. At the Great Barrier Reef I saw a diverse connected, complex community. Not just a place. A living thing. In it I saw the body of Christ.
I also saw a living metaphor of ridicule in the ‘crown of thorns starfish’ destroying the reef. The name of the starfish reminded me of Christ, how he took on all of our shame, in order to give us a crown of beauty. This is how we are called to love each other too.
At the Northern lights we witnessed curtains of light which looked to be blowing in the wind. It is the solar winds and the earth’s magnetic force field which creates these Northern Lights. This reminds me of the Holy Spirit, which is compared to wind in the Bible. We can’t always predict how, when, or where this invisible force will act. We can’t pin it down. Instead, we often wait. We wait before the Lord. Other times we are busy about our day when the spirit of God surprises us with a grand display.
The whimsical Northern Lights are actually my personal favorite of all the wonders, but Victoria Falls, which I am writing about today is the one I relate with the most.
After traveling 1,000 miles from the north, the Zambezi River reaches the edge of one world and plummets 350 feet into another. Victoria Falls, between the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is over a mile wide. No other waterfall in the world can match her scale.
The Zambezi is known as the “River of Life” across southern Africa, but surviving by the river near Victoria Falls is not always easy. During the rainy season the Zambezi has a fierceness and a power that is deadly to both animals and humans. At the peak of the rainy season, almost 300,000 gallons of water cascade over the falls every second.
It began with a fault, then a crack in the Earth’s crust
and a river, known as ‘the river of life’.
It turned into a mess of mist
in a humid hot place.
It was nothing like the waterfall I imagined.
The water collapsing into a chasm of rock wall instead of an open basin.
And it is all zig-zaggy?!
At this mile long curtain of water collapsing
there are lunar rainbows and elephants crossing the streams.
The waterfall has many moods from the dry season to the rainy season.
Everything about the waterfall makes me feel like it understands; it understands forces beyond our control. It understands times of desperation when we are coming towards the edge. It understands moodiness and mess. It understands when we make mistakes. And it knows this water of life, that redeems it all into a beautiful waterfall.
I feel like the waterfall somehow holds my hand. And in the mess of mist, the “smoke of thunder” it says we are more than the fall, caused by the fault. I love that it is named “Victoria” Falls. Victorious.
Today, in a moment quiet I want to imagine the roar of the water.
And be still.
And praise Him for the ways He has rescued me.
The greatest faults in my life, have truly turned into songs of loudest praise.
When we know that we can’t live up to the standards of His Word, when we are at the end of trying, when we acknowledge and believe that we aren’t able but that only He is able, we have come to the waterfall. David cries out to the Lord, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1 ESV).