They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. 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: 16-17
The high temperatures and oppressive heat are still lingering in central Arizona, so a little escape to the cooler elevations is imperative this time of year.
If you can’t relate to the heat in your area of the world, you could maybe substitute the ‘heat’ of the endless commitments and distractions in our lives… the piles of work… the many people imposing on our tired resources… and, the increasing attacks on The Faith in its many relentless forms.
I was having none of it, so I packed up my family and hit the road early. We headed northeast with no particular destination in mind, although I had a rough idea that we needed plenty of pristine wilderness area and a good body of water like a lake or stream. A couple of hours later we pulled into an area that seemed to match my mental picture.
“We’re here,” I announced, and shut the car off. The kids flipped off their little game devices and all three heads popped up to scan the peaceful scenery. It’s amazing how quickly the transformation takes place.
I opened the car door to the soothing scent of pine, crisp mountain air, and silence that practically hurt the ears at first. Almost immediately a lingering layer of angst gave way to a refreshing atmosphere of calm, peace and joy. Ah, the great outdoors. God’s creation.
There really seems to be something essential about anchoring these escapes to a body of water. In our case, it was Lynx Lake just outside of Prescott, AZ.
It’s about a 3 mile walk around the entire perimeter, made easy by a gentle shoreline and small footpath that hugs the lake. My kids quickly found some walking sticks laying on the forest floor and started skipping rocks across the surface of the lake.
Everyone was energized and in good spirits, so we decided to make the entire loop around the lake. My wife and I hung back behind the kids, walking slowly and enjoying simple, unhurried conversation. Mostly, we just rested in the sight of the kids at play. It was so refreshing compared to the usual pace.
The kids were getting along very well, running all over the place… eager to enjoy the experience and expend a great deal of pent of energy. My daugher, who is our youngest, started a little wildflower collection shortly into the hike. It started simply enough, but the flora was so diverse and rich she had managed to put together quite a sampling by the time we got back to the car.
Delicate flowers, little berries and blooms, pine cones, cat tails, nuts, feathers… a spectacular potpourri of nature’s colors and textures, some of which I couldn’t even identify. God’s little gifts.
The area’s fauna was out in force as well, and I was delighted to share it with the kids, especially a pair of shimmering blue buntings. It was the first time I’ve seen them in Arizona. Well, you get the sense of what we experienced, and can probably imagine how this little outing helped to restore us.
On the ride home, I was thinking about how the simple trip to the lake was so effective at taking the edge off, and could only wonder how much more so the Living Water truly refreshes our weary spirits and sustains us.
God is so good, and He always restores. What hope we have when we spend time contemplating this theme, particularly in these times.