Stories Beside Quiet Water

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Psalms 23:1-3

It has been a long and sometimes frustrating week at work. I stand thigh deep in the waters of my favorite river, feeling the current tugging on my legs—not so swiftly as to be dangerous, but enough to let me know I am in the water. It is a soothing soundtrack for my afternoon excursion: the steady tumble and gurgle of water rippling over gravel, swirling around boulders, constantly rolling stones from their source in the hills down to the ocean or some distant lake. The sound of a robin or some more elusive thrush enters the soundtrack. At some point I hear the rapid chatter of a kingfisher. As dusk approaches, a blue heron soars overhead, returning to its nest.

Psalm 23 may be one of the most famous and often-quoted—and also one of the most beautiful—passages in all of scripture. Still, sometimes I need to be reminded of it. I forget its message, or I hear it only in a metaphoric way, or I over-spiritualize it. Certainly there is a rich layer of meanings. But I think there is also a very plain and physical meaning as well.

We need refreshment. We need our souls restored. We need times of quiet. God does this for us, and I think one of the most important ways our great Shepherd does this is bringing us out into his creation and setting us down by waters. Not mere metaphorical waters, but real ones.

God made the many waters of this earth—rivers and streams, lakes and ponds, and the ocean with its never-ceasing chorus of surf upon shore. He made them to be restorative. We need to be willing to say “no” to the constant list of chores, e-mails, and agenda items. and say “yes” to that literal river or patch of green meadow, where God would restore and refresh us.

The bank of my favorite trout stream is lined with trees and is high enough I cannot see far into the woods either side of me. The sound of wind through the branches is quiet compared to the gurgle of water, but still perceptible. I love trees and untamed water. I know on one side of the river I am only a hundred yards from a road. But the trees above and the current around my legs add to my sense of seclusion and my awareness of the natural world around me. My eyes are drawn upward from time to time—to the banks, the trees, the sky, the mountains if they are visible. I am aware of God’s amazing handiwork and how he provides for all of creation.

The current around my legs seems to wash away the tension, fatigue, and frustrations of the past few days of work. I needed this hour. It is certainly a gift, and I am thankful for it.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What is your favorite way to experience the peace and refreshment of waters? When do you need those moments the most? What hinders you from accepting God’s leading to quiet water and green pasture?

PRAYER: Lord, you are a great Shepherd. When I follow, you I find quiet waters and green pastures. Help me to know your voice and follow where you would lead me. Thank you for refreshing my soul. Amen.


Best Vacation Stories

While the stereotypical summer vacation usually involves a cabin or a beach, the vacations most of us take are much less nostalgic and far more varied than that. Or even if there is a beach or a cabin, it’s not the one we see in movies or read in books. Some of the best vacations, in fact, don’t involve packing or traveling at all; they happen in the backyard or on the front porch. At The High Calling, we’re telling some of our best vacation stories, the ones where things didn’t turn out as expected, where plans changed and so did we. So, whether you have reserved your favorite hotel or just a spot in Grandma’s spare bedroom, join us as we share what happens when we step away from everyday for vacation. And if you like these stories, why not share them with a friend or tell one of your own favorite vacation stories.