. . . then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; (Isaiah 35:6 ESV)
Growing up in Ohio I spent many days playing in the local streams. Our home was in the middle of a greenbelt community. No matter which way you turned you had to exit the community through some portion of the local forest. Throughout the forest surrounding our town ran a small stream which emptied into the local lake.
Occasionally my friends and I would spend time floating on the lake in a row boat and pretend to fish. But, since I didn’t like to clean or eat fish we would toss back into the lake whatever we caught. The adventure was the fishing, not the catching.
Fishing required sitting on the shore or renting a row boat and money was in short supply. The next best thing to the lake for fun was the local stream. Many adventures took place around the stream. With my friends we explored every inch and every crook and every cranny of the stream.
Country streams are miracles to behold. As a young man I could spend days exploring the banks, rocks, and wildlife found in and around a stream. Skipping from rock to rock was a great pastime for a young man. My friends and I would take bets on how far we could go along a stream before slipping on a rock and getting wet. I still enjoy walking along and wading through small streams.
When Beth and I had children I looked forward to introducing our children to the wonder of a forest stream. On Guam these are few and far between. In fact, the only streams were deep in the jungle and hard to get at without a machete and plenty of bug spray. With the ocean all about the island we didn’t spend time learning about streams on the island. So the wonders of a cool stream had to wait a few years.
When we visited friends in Georgia there was a chance for Ellice and Joel to experience a cool freshwater stream. While we waited for a break in the events at the Camp Meeting there was an opportunity to walk about the complex, through the woods and visit a small stream nearby. Here was my chance to teach Ellice and Joel the fun of a cold mountain stream.
It didn’t take much coaxing to get them in the water. They stood beside the stream, watched the fast flowing waters and wondered what it would be like. One or two toes were dipped in to see how cold it was. It was cold. They had a choice, jump in or walk away. They decided to jump in.
Within minutes they were both splashing through the cold water still in their clothes. We didn’t bring swimsuits; it wasn’t on our list of meeting requirements. Soon they were sliding down rocks with the mild current. I’m not sure if they remember that day but I do.
I think God introduces us to refreshing streams at the right time. Like the Psalmist says, “He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” Sometimes we have to dip our toes in first to see if we have the stamina to jump in. Once we make that commitment we discover the refreshing wonder of God’s streams.