I walked to Hell Valley yesterday. It is a small valley on the south-west corner of Hokkaido Island in the far north of Japan. Everything about the walk and sights countered the name. The fall colors of the birch, maple, and other hardwood trees are still incredibly beautiful. The hill climb caused one to stop and reflect in stunned silence, beauty unfolding on more beauty. This followed by snow in the morning makes it stunning.
At the top of the ridge we looked over and onto two lakes. The contrasting colors, sounds, and smells with the hot-spring vents that dotted the landscape easily brought out the curiosity and explorer in the visitor. You could see white versus vivid red, yellows offsetting grays, and scattered green highlighting the various colors of earth revealed by the scars of the hot spring. The vent has been active for several hundred years. As a result a small village now exists with several different tapped into the water and steam burbling at temperatures exceeding 200 degrees centigrade!
Our onsen visit transcended seven different kinds of water. Some of the water was acidic and extremely hot while others were soft and gentle. Three plus hours later the tension and stress of normal working life has been banished through the discipline of going through a regimen of the baths. God’s tools were doing their work.
God’s toolbox doesn’t end there. “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27.17) We have a wide range of alternatives at our disposal but the question we face daily is just like the experience yesterday at the Demon Spa; do you want to experience the full impact of God’s touch? Will you let the impact of heat, sodium, calcium, and a host of other minerals change who you are?
Initially yesterday my reaction was that it was too much. After walking along for awhile with a friend we both came back and let the full effect of the waters take over. What seemed like hell was actually healing and it was wonderful.