There is a River

fishing landscape nature man
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There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.  The holy dwelling places of the Most High.  Psalms 46:4 NASB

A few weeks ago, I stood in a crystal-clear mountain stream trout fishing.  The water was cold and so transparent I could see the fish attack my fly.  I stood in chest waders to protect me from the cold water that was the perfect temperature for rainbow trout.

Our family’s first trip to that stream was in 1959 when I was five years old.  Dad drove the Chevy station wagon down Route 66 with Mom, four sons, and a dog on a summer vacation.  Without air conditioning and our windows down, we traversed west with our gear in a top-carrier.  That first year we camped in a tent.  We returned every year with improved gear.  Our second year we camped in a pop-up camper.  A couple years later we had a small travel trailer.  By the time I was a teenager we had a full-size travel trailer.  Our family of six has diminished since then.  My oldest brother died five years ago from complications of surgery.  Dad died a couple years later.  My mother is frail and has dementia.  Now there are only three of the original family members able to return to the mountain stream.  This year my older brother and I, along with our wives, made the trip.

We enjoyed four days of fly fishing and released all the fish we caught.  Since trout don’t swallow artificial flies, we were able to release them undamaged to bite another day.   As I worked my fly rod, a muskrat swam from bank to bank, once nearly brushing my leg.  A water snake seemed to dance his way downstream as I examined it to be sure it wasn’t a copperhead.  Copperheads are a bit on the mean side, and one chased me from the creek once.   Though it was summer, we were oblivious to the heat since we were half submerged in ice cold water.  In fact, we laughed as we mocked each other for shivering.

It was a glorious week in the stream which originates at a spring.  It’s amazing to stand at the spring watching a hundred million gallons of water each day flow from the ground.  Since my first visit almost sixty years ago the spring has never gone dry.  In fact, no one knows how long the water has flowed from its source.  Divers have never found the bottom.  Its plentiful source is a mystery.

It reminds me of the Holy Spirit.  It is a consistent, never-ending power that flows from the City of God.  Jesus predicted and promised the arrival of the Spirit and its presence was powerfully revealed at Pentecost.  We Christians can tap into the power of the Holy Spirit.  God wants us to let the Spirit assist us and encourage us.  The gospels teach us the Holy Spirit even prays for us when we don’t know how to pray.

What an amazing thought.  When we are at the end of our capabilities and groaning, the Holy Spirit interprets our groans to God.  When we caregivers have no energy, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.  With such power why do we despair?

If God is for us, who is against us?  Romans 8:31 NASB

Route 66 has been replaced by modern interstates, and the luxury travel trailer was sold years ago.  Though I can visualize the silver ice chest and white-gas lantern, I don’t know what happened to them.  When Dad died, I threw away the old spin casting rod and reel I used as a child.  They had only a nostalgic value.  Maybe that’s why Dad held on to them.

I’ve taken my children and grandchildren to our fishing stream, and they love it as much as I do.  After I’m gone, maybe they’ll take their children there sometimes.  They can teach them the stream is like the Holy Spirit.  It is mighty, never-ending, and flows from a mysterious source to provide them with joy.

© Copyright 2018 Ronald Milburn

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