Sunday, November 2, 2014

Camping by the creek

He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. – Psalm 23:2–3 NIV
Both my husband and I love to hike mountain trails, and there were plenty in the Great Smoky Mountains, where we spent our vacation this year. I estimate I walked about 17 miles. Dean more because after the 5½-mile hike on Tuesday, which included one mile up a mountain and one mile down, I needed a day of rest. So Wednesday I stayed at the campground while Dean went on a solo hike. (Which I suspect he enjoyed immensely because I wasn’t dragging along, slowing him down—but he’s too much of a gentleman to admit it.)
We had a wonderful vacation, with plenty of mountain streams rippling over rocks and gushing down waterfalls—and flowing behind our campsite. Moving water, remember, creates negative ions that help to energize you and counteract the effect of fatigue-causing positive ions created by modern life. I wish I would have taken a day just to sit by the creek and read. But instead I hiked more than I was in condition to hike and on my one day “off” did laundry and cleaned the camper.
“He leads me beside streams of water,” the psalmist wrote. “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2–3).
He can lead us to a place of rest and restoration, but it’s our decision whether or not to stop for a while. Sometimes all we do is pause, take in the scene, and move on.
Why do we think we need to accomplish so much? I don’t know about you, but I put more on my to-do list than I can actually accomplish in one day—or one week. “Why do I expect so much of myself?” I muttered as I put one hiking boot in front of the other. If I’m not careful, my Shepherd will make me lie down in that green pasture beside the gurgling brook (verse 2).
Pacing myself is the answer, and the best way to do that is to follow Jesus’ example. He had but one item on His to do-list: serve His heavenly Father. He was busy, yes, but He took time out to hike up a mountain or slip off to a quiet garden to spend time with God before the crowds showed up.
In my rush to get everything done on a to-do list I alone compile, I find myself skipping time beside that quiet stream. I need to put pack into my schedule time to pray deeply and to give the Scriptures I read time to soak into my spirit. I didn’t even slow down when we were on vacation.

What about you? Do you let Him lead you beside quiet waters so He can restore your soul? No? Well, maybe it’s time to camp by the creek for a while.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me once again of how much I need to rest beside the quiet waters and let You restore my soul. Amen.

 Special-Tea: Read Psalm 23


  1. I love this post, Michele. Charles and I were avid campers and hikers at one time. Now I'm the only one. I still enjoy the outdoors and especially in the mountains. It's my hiding place with God. He surely does lead me beside still waters and is doing so now as Charles and I navigate his trail to heaven. Last week he was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cancer in the liver (source unknown). No cure and no treatment available. The length of the journey is unclear to all but God, so we will walk with Him as he leads Charles to his eternal reward and resting place.

    1. Oh, Karen, I'm so sorry to hear about Charles! I will be praying for you, Charles, and your family. Your faith is a solid rock, my friend. Thank you for being a witness and an example of what it really means to walk by faith, not by sight and trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. Because you acknowledge Him in all your ways, He will direct you (Proverbs 3:5-6). "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14).

  2. Wonderful post. I love camping too. Our vacations when our girls were growing up was camping trips, and I have so many fond memories of those times. I lost my husband in 1997 and of all the things that I have missed, the camping trips are one top of the list. It is important to take those times out for quiet and allowing God to speak and sometimes in life we do get so busy, we neglect to do that.

    God Bless.

    1. What precious memories you have! Camping is a lot of work--preparing, packing, and unpacking--but well worth it. Camping puts us right smack dab in the middle of God's beautiful creation. I never cease to be amazed at His handiwork. Thanks for sharing, Ann.