Around me, red, orange and yellow leaves flutter silently to the ground, contributing their variegated tones to the multicolored October carpet. The blue sky and white clouds appear twice this morning, first in the sky and then in the mirror stillness of the lake. I hear a splash. A fish breaks the water’s surface to snatch some breakfast morsel. A wild goose circles in majestic observation overhead. From the small island in the center of the lake comes the unmistakable cry of a loon.
Behind me up the hill a thin column of smoke rises from the chimney in the borrowed cottage where Sara Faye and I are enjoying part of a week’s vacation in Maine, after a busy weekend that included seven speaking appointments in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A smooth rounded boulder provides a seat for my view this morning, here beside the lake. The air is crisp and clean. My cup of coffee comforts by its warmth as well as by its aroma and taste. I cannot imagine a more perfect setting for a daily mediation.
For several years I have followed a devotional plan recommended by Billy Graham, which takes me through the Psalms once every month. Today is October 11, 1995, which means I read Psalms 11, 41, 71, 101 and 131. I praise God as I turn in my New American Standard hardback Bible. “Please speak to me, Lord,” I beseech, ” as I open your Word. And thank you so much for this magnificent place!”
What a contrast to my usual surroundings in metropolitan Houston, Texas. There are no 40,000 vehicles jamming the freeway this morning, not here in Maine. No crazy drivers, to whom a turn signal is an invitation to cut me off. No oppressive humidity, no depositions or trials or interrupting phone calls. No impatient clients, or obstreperous adversaries, or management crises. Why can’t I just stay right here on this rock, I wonder, immersed in such peace and quiet? Is there any way to carry some of this tranquillity back to the place I am presently called to live and work?
Then He speaks — through the words of Psalm 71:3. “Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come.” I pause to absorb the Word. GOD is my source of peace, I realize, and He is present always and everywhere. HE is my “rock,” and I can turn to Him in any situation and be refreshed — on the freeway, in the conference room, at the courthouse — wherever I happen to be.
Today two enlarged photographs of that lakeside scene hang framed in my house, one in the front foyer and one in my bedroom. They stir beautiful memories each time I view them. But they also remind me of a greater truth and a more permanent reality than even this beautiful creation. That reality is the Creator of it all. For now I know that, whatever my physical surroundings or circumstances, God himself is my “rock of habitation, to whom I may CONTINUALLY come.”