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I have been turning the perceptions and feelings around in my mind for several days now, especially when I look out of the window in Sparrow Cottage on Eagles’ Rock. Before me lies one of the many beautiful green valleys among the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, outside the lovely village of Underberg in KwaZulu/Natal.
Trees, flowers and birds abound all around. Below me as I look down from the mountain plateau, the Mzimkulu River gently follows its course. It goes on its way, completely unaware that the peace that seemingly reigns uninterrupted here is something that people in so many parts of our country only dream of. The Mzimkulu has a gentle flow and you can hardly hear it during the day. It is only when the day begins to wind up its activities and the accompanying sounds, with dusk approaching, that the soft murmur of the river breaks through. The river does change its mood during the day though. It is not unlike mankind. Early morning sees it rested and fresh, greeting the day with joy, reflecting the trees and shrubs on its banks in its clear water. By midday, however, it shows the mood of a man whose energy has been spent in the toil of day, and the clear reflections make way for a dull, rather tired look. Fortunately dusk also brings a new friendly mood as the golden colour of the sun on its way down is reflected on the river’s seemingly still surface.
Even the lonely bull in the pasture on the river bank seems to be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the surroundings, as he lazily goes about his way. I regularly watch him through the binoculars, searching for some sign of movement. All I see is the slight movement of his jaws. The only energetic movement I have seen him make in all the days I have watched him, was the one time I caught him in the act of lying down.
Here and there one can see the homesteads of the valley’s human inhabitants. From afar they give the impression that they tried not to spoil the beauty of their country-side. At night their lights are dim in the darkness that is not spoilt by the street lights of so-called civilisation. The chicken farm is the only exception and it sticks out like a sore thumb, both day and night.
What I see before me, is a beautiful part of God’s wonderful creation that is called earth. The majestic Southern Drakensberg peek over the foothills around me. If I step out of the cottage, I can see the twin Hodson’s Peaks with the Giant’s Cup between them in the distance, near the Sani Pass to the little mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. You would have to be without any sort of emotion and feelings not to stand in awe below them. Then again, I remember that they are only a very small part of their Creator’s footstool (Is. 66:1).
For all their greatness, they cannot compare with the sheer magnitude of my Father God’s grace. That lovely South African servant of the Lord, the late Ed Roebert once said that for him the word grace stood for Gods Reaction At Christ’s Expense. And that reaction was based on a love so great that He gave his only Son to take my sins to the cross. The love of the Son for me took Him to that cross in total obedience to his Father. And praise God, the grave could not hold Him! The Son of God is risen, he’s not dead. Through Him and with Him and by Him, I too could arise from the eternal grave that sin held for me.
“And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”
Whenever I look at the mountains now, I think: “Yes, you look awesome, but how small you really are! For in the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding, I am filled with the so much greater fulness of the living God, your Creator and mine.”
[Written during our stay in the Drakensberg, November 1997].
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