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Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Story of the Stream

One day the Streammaker decided a certain mountain needed a stream.  He opened up the heavens, poured down the rain and soon enough a great torrent was rushing down the mountain.  As it was a new stream, things were not as they should be, as far as streams go, that is.  The water was dark and murky.  The stones were very sharp.  Big clumps of earth and mud and roots and grass got in the way of things.  No matter.  The Streammaker knew how to make His stream, so He did.

At first it was very exciting.  The stream was exuberant at all the new adventures and discoveries to be made.  Each day he welcomed the sunshine with glad splashes and a happy rush - the flow itself disbursed its own joy of simply being, of moving, of reflecting and of singing.

But as the new stream needed to be settled, some things were rather disturbing.  Once in a while, a big clump of leaves and dirt would dislodge and go tumbling away.  The stream felt he was losing part of himself.  "You didn't need that - you can let it go.  You will be sparkly clear without it," encouraged the Streammaker.

Quite often the stream admired the sparkly stones in the flow of water.  He noticed, with a twinge of sorrow, how the sharp edges were becoming dull.  "I liked it when it was sparkly!" he gurgled to the Streammaker.  "Can't you do it some other way?"

"Those sharp edges could hurt someone - perhaps a child will come to play in you someday.  Do you want your sparkly stones more than you want to be a safe place for others?"  The stream quieted and trusted the great wisdom of the Streammaker.  Surely, he knew what He was doing.  But sometimes it didn't feel good at all.

"I thought being a stream was going to be so much fun.  Turns out there is so much change and turbulence, and smoothing of stones, and washing away dirt - I'm afraid my flow will never be the exciting thing it once was," thought the stream.



Once in a while a bigger rock or boulder would tumble into the stream.  The whole course would be affected then.  The stream would have to adjust and begin to wear away the hardness of those huge stones.  This work seemed endless - little progress could be seen, but over time the edges did become smooth - and these bigger stones even served a purpose.  People could now come and sit on them, dangling feet in the water and the stream could feel his purpose in providing comfort to those who sit in streams.

Most people never had time for such things.  They rushed about doing the things people do.  They might let their children splash in the stream - after all, children didn't always see the need to rush.  The stream delighted in children.  They seemed unaware of the joy they brought the little stream - they splashed and soaked and even dislodged a few stones.  Sometimes they would play so long and so devotedly in the stream they might actually change the course of the stream forever.  They might build a dam and the stream had to work up enough flow to overcome it.  They might walk in the mud and dirty it up and the stream would just have to endure the muddiness for a while, until enough time and water flowed to make it sparkly clear again.  Oh how the stream loved children, for it reminded him of how he once was - happy to be dirty, unconcerned for anything but immediate pleasure.

But it also made the stream glad to see that he was moving away from childhood.  He was being taught his purpose - he was learning how to flow.

Sometimes the stream felt his life was utterly boring.  It was the same thing every day - this or that bird would swoop by, this or that deer would come for a drink, this or that reed would wave and dip with the gentle breeze.  But the stream knew nothing else to do, but to flow and reflect, to gurgle and sing, to wash and renew.  Sometimes the Streammaker let time go by with no changes at all.  And the stream would wonder what He was up to.

Sometimes those times of stillness would lead the stream to be impatient.  So he would muster his power and strength and push his water to a boulder he wished to move.  He would nudge it a different direction, and more often than not this led to it landing in an awkward spot.  "I didn't like it where it was, and now I've forced it to an even worse place. I wish I'd asked the Streammaker for His help," he bemused.

Streams are like that, you see.  They can get restless just like the rest of us.  And when something impedes their stream, they might try to nudge it away, not knowing that if it sits and they watch and wait, that stone may become a resting place for some weary traveller.

That isn't to say the stream had no business in wishing it away - no, the stream had a life within his flow that bore its own sorrows and joys.  But trying to fix things without the Streammaker's help was simply inefficient and tiresome.

The Streammaker was delighted with the little stream He'd made.  Often He would send a cool breeze to rush through the leaves of the surrounding trees.  Or He would clear away clouds to see the sunshine glisten on the water.  And then He would invite the children to come and play.

"My life flows on in endless song,
Above earth's lamentation
I catch the sweet, though far off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth,
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night He giveth.

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am His!
How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that Rock I'm clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heav'n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?"

-Robert Lowry, 1869




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