Refreshed – He will give you rest.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Shelter from Autumn’s dreary, constant drizzle, and saturated ground requires refuge under an umbrella of large coniferous trees, firs, spruce, and pines readily found on the Western slopes of the Cascades. The forest welcomes visitors, including an eight-year-old sojourner and his companion, to the humid warmth, respite, and a sensory banquet under its canopy—a stark contrast to the grey overcast sky and vulnerability of the open field of dormant brown prairie grass.
As you move deeper into the forest sanctuary, you are struck by the earthy smell of the soil, strongly scented pines mixed with the aroma of pungent decaying coarse woody debris covered with shelf mushrooms. Saplings sheltered under the mixed canopy, and bracken ferns dapple the forest floor. The ever-present pine mounds of thatching ants marked the familiar trail up the slope. You are not alone. Always present, but rarely seen were black-tailed deer, elk, bear, coyotes, skunks, and several reptilian occupants. A symphony of the myriad of insects, numerous birds, toads, and the mighty wind singing through the limbs overhead replaced the sound of rain in the open field. Harmony replaced discordance.
The trek would take the familiar visitors up and through the forest. It was a pilgrimage undertaken unhindered and unhurried. It was a mission that meandered over and under damp foliage, rain-soaked rotting tree bark, and a short climb over exposed roots and crawl through a narrow cliff ledge on the edge of this forest trek. The ultimate goal was an opening he discovered by happenstance. Yet, the absolute joy was the stream crossing and the log upon which he rested. He would pause and listen to the sound of the stream, babbling and tinkling along over rocks and into pools.
At the same time, his black Labrador companion took random forays through the lush foliage, returning periodically to signal her willingness to roust him from his perch to their final destination. In this opening, you can step out of the forest sanctuary onto a cliff ledge and experience a panoramic view of the valley reserved for eagles. It is exhilarating in Autumn’s dreary sky. He would stand near or sit on that ledge, the forest floor hundreds of feet below, and enjoy the sound of the wind and the solitude.
On the return, he would stop before crossing the stream and drink. Tired, he would kneel and gently place his mouth in the water, just breaking the surface and softly draw in the cold crisp water. It was indescribably clean, pure, and refreshing. The forest, the stream, and the ledge were sanctuary places. Especially for a young boy. However, it would be decades later until he would understand its significance, the relevance of his journey, and the blessing of the tinkling refreshing stream. Do you have a similar story?
On life’s journey, we yearn for rest, a respite from the world’s dissonance and social cacophony—its inconsistent, unrelenting distractions and demands. We may no longer have access to a forest sanctuary and a refreshing stream. However, we do have the ability to enter into His rest. A place where, like the young boy, we find sanctuary and protection. A place like that forest canopy where we find rest in God, the creator. How? We follow Jesus’ example who went out into the desert or the garden. His solitary place where He talked to His Father.
We go to our solitary place, and we close our eyes and pray—commune with the Lord. Sitting there, on the log, we again hear the sounds, imagine the smells, and enjoy the tinkling brook under the forest canopy. We talk to our Father in simple terms, unhindered and unhurried. We drink from His stream, with living water, quenching our soul.
Do you yearn for rest a place of respite? Find that place, close your eyes and join His children by the stream, under the forest canopy.
Jesus is calling. Let Him give you living water. Water that is indescribably clean and pure. Water that refreshes your soul. Leave the world behind.
Enter His place of rest where harmony replaces discordance. He is calling you.