“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
The above Scripture is a reminder of the keeping power and blessing that God pours on those who seek Him. It also brings to mind the days of my youth, when I spent so much time in the deep woods of the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. It was a wonderful place to grow up. Dad was an Adirondack guide, and the caretaker for “Forest Lodge”, one of the great old Adirondacks camps that is located on the canoe carry between Upper St. Regis Lake and Bear Pond. I spent many days with my father in that place, and it was there that I learned to love the woods just like him.
The hills, valleys and lakes that surrounded Forest Lodge, were my boyhood haven for exploration and adventure. My single-shot .22 rifle was a constant companion, and more often than not, my trout rod was also in hand as I wandered about looking for another place to fish. Many small rivers were hidden away in the moist hemlock forests. They trickled down the hills and filled dozens of kettle hole ponds that dotted the property where the “camp was located. Every chance I had, I took the time to walk through thick brush and around cat tail swamps, in hopes of finding another river valley that held the next trout stream of my dreams.
Time has slipped by, and finding the best streams today is not easy. I still have to get off the beaten path, where most people will not go, and look with a keen eye, or listen for the sound a bubbling water. I explore old dirt roads on my 1980 Honda CX500 and find hidden, or overlooked streams that others have missed or passed by. Often I hike a mile or more off-road to a promising river valley and am handsomely rewarded with a nice mess of speckled trout. It takes time to walk into those secret places, where valleys come together, and ice-cold water tumbles down over untouched glacial boulders. Here is where hemlock trees hang darkly over deep, clear pools and hungry native “brookies” are waiting to strike anything that hits the water.
My most memorable days have been spent on secret streams with my trout rod in hand, nightcrawlers I picked off my lawn, and a small thermos of hot coffee tucked into my ancient wicker creel. The smell of cool, morning mist rising off the water, and the sun streaming it’s golden way through scented pine branches, just thrills my soul. I feel the peace of God, and His pleasure, in these peaceful, quiet places. Why? Because I alone have taken the time to seek them out, discover and enjoy such beautiful places, which God created. This is my forest sanctuary where I carefully walk the stream bank and catch trout, meditate on His Word, delight myself in Him and feel the joy of life that this stream brings to everything it touches.
Especially in the grip of a brutal August heat wave, these wonderfully-cool places, deep in the forest, remind me of God and His ways. He is always there, ready to refresh all who come. When I find such a stream, I cherish it and keep it’s secrets all to myself. Each time I go there, I am amazed that everything near it is still green and flourishing, regardless of the dry conditions that may be all around. Berry bushes on it’s banks are lush and full of fruit, and trout are still swimming in it’s cool, dark pools. The tracks along it’s banks testify to the fact that birds and raccoons, foxes, deer and an occasional bear have all come to this holy place to drink, and they have satisfied their thirst.
This is a stream of living water, and just like being in God’s amazing presence, I have the endless pleasure of being here in the magnificent solitude, and enjoying it any time I so choose. There is nothing to hear but the stream itself or the call of birds and the wind in the trees. All of these calm my hurried thoughts. Best of all, there is no other human for miles, and that is just fine with me. I came here to fish, hear the whispers of God, and thank Him for this sacred place. It restores me in ways I cannot describe, and with a depth that only God can accomplish. I am humbled by all of it, right down to the very core of my being.
When I am rushed, when I am feeling pressured or worn out, all I need is the Lord and time alone on a trout stream. No matter what life has thrown at me, or how people have disappointed me, here is where I find rest for my soul and peace of mind. Worries fall away, the pull others have on me gets left for another day, and I find real peace. All I need is to sit on the bank of a trout stream and enjoy the sun filtering through the trees. Let me feel a pine-scented breeze gently caress my face, and I am happy. I hear the sound of water bubbling over rocks, and in that moment God is near, and I know that life is more than good, it is wonerful!
Let me encourage you to take the time to find your place of rest. It may be on a trout stream, a park bench, a favorite spot by the lake or alone in your own bedroom. Wherever it is, you need to go there by yourself on a regular basis and meet with God. Let Him come to you, direct your path and bring you to the place of living water. There, you can be like that bush on the bank of my trout stream. No matter what’s happening all around you, you can still be full of life, and give that life away to others.
This is what life in Jesus is all about. He is the stream, the answer you have been looking for! My question today is, “why not let Him help you find all you have been hungry and thirsty for”? Sit down by this stream of life, and trust me when I say, you will not be disappointed. In fact, He is more than you could ever imagine!
All you who are thirsty, come to the waters of life 💦 and drink your fill.. His love for you is more than enough to quench your deepest thirst and calm your greatest fear. He is with you always and He will give you rest!