When Carl and I were on vacation in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee last week, we decided to go on a short hike to a waterfall. My sister Chris, brother-in-law Paul and my niece Jenna went with us. It was a beautiful day and as soon as we started on the trail, it was impossible not to feel God's presence.
We started out at the bottom of the path with enthusiasm and plenty of energy for the journey. We knew that when we reached the top we would be rewarded with the sight of a beautiful waterfall. Even from the beginning of the hike, we were able to hear the sound of water. At times we could see it trickling down from the side of the mountain. Other times we could see the stream rushing along the rocks.
And other times we couldn't see the water at all, but were able just to hear it. But we always knew it was near.
When we got tired we stopped to rest. As we walked along we met other hikers, traveling the same path, headed to the same destination. We stopped several times to admire God's beauty in the many colors of the leaves and His magnificent power in the natural chiseling of the mountain rock that has occurred over thousands of years.
We came across a huge log that crossed our path and several rocks along the way that made our journey more difficult,
but always, we were able to hear the water.
Finally we reached the end of our journey and witnessed God's majesty and beauty in the waterfall. We went behind the water and stood in an area carved out in the mountain rock. Standing atop the mountain, next to the waterfall and listening to the mighty sound of the rushing water was an incredible experience.
I thought about how similar this hike was to the difficult journeys we face in our lives. When we trust in Him to make the journey through the desert, He always provides us water. His living water. He gives us a place to rest when we tire.
He provides friends and family to lift us up and strengthen us along the way.
He leads us to people who are also walking through the desert. Sometimes we can lift them up and other times they will lift us up. We come across obstacles that block our path and many times force us to take a different direction. But His water, like His love, is always there for us. Sometimes we see it right next to us and other times we can only hear the sound. But it is always there. And He has promised that one day, when our journey is complete and we land on the other side, there will be no more tears or sorrow and we will forever enjoy the "springs of living water."
"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17)