Gratitude Day 20: Nature's Inspiration

Fall leaves are scattered among wet boulders in the West Prong Little Pigeon River.
Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
I've been a nature lover for most of my life. When I need a break from whatever stresses life is dishing out at the moment, I grab my camera, maps and guidebooks, fill a cooler with drinks and snacks, and head to the lake or mountains for a little solace and inspiration. My escapes rarely fail to renew my spirit. They help me find the strength to weather the storm and carry on. They provide a peaceful respite where I can pray, listen to the Spirit, and receive guidance.

Sometimes that guidance is found in the beautiful scenes I find myself in. The scenes are simple and often symbolic of what I need to know in the moment. This image from the Chimneys Picnic Area is one of those simple scenes. I could sit on a rock in a river in the Smokies and listen to the water crash all day. In this location on the West Prong the rocks are large and look like they've been in the same location for centuries. Some probably have, while others have been shifted downstream or broken apart in freezes and floods. When I'm sitting here I notice how steadfast the big rocks are, never moving despite the strong current of the rushing water. Adversity may have polished the rough edges off the rock, but the rock didn't move. It held firm.

Today as I revisit this image and the experience I had of being among the watery rocks, I am reminded that I, too, can be firm and steadfast as the scriptures so often counsel us to be. I can hold fast to the good while the rest flows on by. I can have hope, be believing, and know that adversity don't last forever. I can be like the big rock in the river. Steadfast.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.... For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.
Isaiah 43:2-3


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