by David Packer

(I stopped by the Great Smokies National Park and sat by a stream to write: August 2, 1979)


The purity of a mountain stream

Gushing from its source

Transparent to the rocks and arachnids,

Iridescent of the trees, ferns, and


So like your love, Father God, is this stream.

Transparent to a non-understanding world

Whose gaze falls on the uneven stony nature of

The stream floor and not to the water rushing over.

Unbelief gives credit for change to human effort.

But the dizzying glares glance not off the

Submerged rocks beneath but are

Reflections of your Son, who creates

In us a clean heart and

Recreates Himself in the world.

Determined in its course, the stream of Your love

Finds its way around every obstacle of our lives,

And even taking these unsmoothed parts

of stubbornness, anger, selfishness, that

dam up Your heart’s flow,

You fill them all the same with your love

Creating pools of patience

Where more timid thoughts and creatures

Can recover their strength or

Mature to adulthood.

And the gaping flaws of our landscape,

Of fear and distrust and ignorance,

The weaknesses of our character,

You turn into the very mightiest of waterfalls

Where even the skeptics see you more than us.

Transparent to the world, Your love like clear water often goes unnoticed,

But to the rugged rock bed of our fallen nature

The onrushing stream of Your Spirit

Smoothes our jagged edged tongues,

Washes out the refuse of our hearts,

And renews us within.

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