We called it “Rapids’ Edge,” a campsite/hangout on our property on the banks of Gillis Falls.¹ Rapids’ Edge sat alongside several of the many rapids in Gillis Falls’ short (7-8 mile) stretch.
Pat and I slept overnight at Rapids’ Edge, falling asleep to the sound of downstream and upstream (stereo) rapids. We had crab feasts and cookouts with family and friends, played in the water, or just sat alongside the stream for an afternoon or evening – reading the Bible, watching for river otter, muskrat, mink and other critters, and enjoying Tigger, our outdoor/indoor cat. Our Sunday night prayer and praise group met “at the river” several times.
Rapids’ Edge was well equipped – a wooden platform with a cabana over it, air mattresses, hot water for a shower, portable toilet, fire ring, picnic bench, swing, storage shed and more. We walked several hundred yards down to it from the house. Or we drove “Little Red,” our 4x4, and the “Patty Wagon,” Pat’s 1980 battery operated Harley Davidson Golf Cart.
From Rapids’ Edge we crossed the stream to our 4 ½ acre property that we called “Lost Acres,” a land that once was “lost” but later found. We obtained a Land Patent (original grant of land from the state) in 2002 for Lost Acres. We enjoyed walking in this pristine forest, on an historic logging trail past a year-round spring, and looking at unusual vegetation including many wildflowers.
It was at Rapids’ Edge (and Lost Acres) that He would share His creation and insights with us.
All was well at Rapids’ Edge … until 2018. Then the floods came. One after another. All the way into November. The rushing waters tore the cabana loose from the platform and left it in a twisted mess, damaging the platform and tearing up the cabana cover. The floods lifted the heavy picnic table and carried it away from its location. The floods rearranged the stream bed (as floods often do) so that we could not drive or walk on the path along the stream we used for access to Rapids’ Edge. As a final insult, beavers built a dam across the stream, further limiting our access.
In short, the floods made Rapids’ Edge virtually unusable. Repair and restoration would be very difficult, beyond our capabilities.
We grieved over the loss of our beloved “home away from home.” And we still are grieving months later. Our place of peace and comfort seemed to have been stolen away by the ravaging flood waters, our dream of sharing the property with those from our church (and others) disappeared. Holding on to a Biblical perspective became difficult.
A Biblical perspective
Is it okay to grieve over something like the damage to Rapids’ Edge? Some say that grieving, for Christians, is for humans and pets, not for inanimate objects such as the Rapids’ Edge facilities.
But we suffered more than the loss of “stuff.” We lost our place of physical and spiritual rest and relaxation (R&R). As people of God, we need to grieve appropriately for such losses. But we must always stay focused on God’s ability to fill our heart, mind, body, and most of all our spirit with His divine purposes. He remains the same regardless of our losses or challenges.
We need to consider Jesus’ warning about materialism. “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven” means that we need to get our priorities right as we rest. We can place too much emphasis on the “things” at places like Rapids’ Edge.
Times like these call for adjusting to the change. This means accepting that an important part of our world has changed, maybe permanently. This is part of the grieving process.
Is God sending a message with the floods, just as He sent a message to mankind from the Great Flood? The message may be that God is planning something better than Rapids’ Edge or the use we made of it. It may be that we are called on to re-evaluate how we use Rapids’ Edge according to God’s new purpose and plan.
“Things like the damage to Rivers’ Edge drive me to the eternal promises of God, as He takes away some of our ‘things’ and certainly some of our health.” ²
God favors rest. The Bible often refers to rest as a good thing. Of course, the Bible also emphasizes the value of work. Balance is necessary.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle, and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
¹Gillis Falls is named “falls” because of the rapid drop in elevation from the headwaters just above Maryland Route 26 (between Winfield and Taylorsville) some 7-8 miles down to its merger with the Patapsco River near Woodbine.
²From Elder Doug Blanchard