A Float on the River

I love water, always have. There is just something enchanting about oceans, lakes, and rivers; they bring to me a sense of life and adventure. At times they provide a calming serenity while at other times they remind me of how overwhelmingly small I am.

Growing up in a family that enjoyed camping, fishing, and hiking, water almost always played a part in our trips and vacations. For many years my happy moments were to be found in a boat on a lake or sitting on the shore with a fishing pole in hand. As I grew older and became drawn to fishing with a fly rod, my love of water found its greatest attraction in water that was moving. I fell in love with creeks, streams, and rivers. Around each bend was something new to discover, every slippery rock, every tumbling riffle, and each placid pool was a new world to explore.

One creek (Canyon Creek in Arizona) became so familiar I knew it intimately. I knew what fish would be in each hole, I knew where to fish and where not to fish. I knew which flies to use in April and May (grayish-brown or black nymphs sizes 10-12), June-August (hare’s ears, elk hair caddis, and red quills sizes 14-16), and then in September-November (hare’s ears and pheasant tails size 14). I knew that each spring a nice brown would take up residence along the fallen log in the run just above the pool with the three dead trees.

At times I would get too confident and slip on the slick rocks for an unplanned bath. At other times in other places I would wade too deeply or attempt to navigate too strong of current with the same result (oh, the Madison, Firehole, and Gibbon River memories!). While there were similarities in each river, creek, and stream, they all had their own personalities that had to be experienced learned.

In spite of the spills and falls, I discovered that some of the best fishing involved navigating difficult water filled with unseen depth, hidden rocks, and swift currents. Sometimes it would yield fish, sometimes just a bath but it was always worth it.

That is how I have come to see life. It is very much like a river. There are deep, calming pools and there are rough and tumble rivers. Some waters are intimidating while others invite a restful peace. No matter though, life has be explored and discovered. It is filled with the promise of bruised shins, wet clothes, but rich reward.

The problem is, we only get one shot. There is no going back to wade or float a section again later. There is no opportunity to try a different fly or different approach.

Since we get one shot at it and one shot only, we need a guide. Someone who knows the river, someone who has been there before…and we have One. Our Creator and our Savior has revealed Himself in His word and in His incarnation. The writer of Hebrews says this,

“God, after He spoke long ago…in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

“Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Jesus, He is our guide as we Float the River.

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