The cold water shattered my concentration as I stepped into the river. Even in August the Poudre River runs ice cold from the snowcapped peaks high above the canyon walls. We were deep in the mountains of Colorado in search of wild trout.
I was knee deep in the rushing frigid waters leaning into the current trying to maintain my balance. Fly fishing in the remote mountains of Northern Colorado is a bucket list item for many because the pursuit is unlike anything else. We had clocked over one hundred and sixty miles that morning making our way up into the mountains in search of a stretch of clear, cold mountain water that was legendary.
The Poudre Canyon is forty miles long. The peaks on either side of us rise up three thousand feet. They were mesmerizing. Being immersed in such undisturbed natural beauty was like a shot of adrenaline to my soul.
It was quite a task for a bass fisherman from Alabama to try and navigate a fly rod, strong currents, cold waters and the whipping Colorado winds. The water was so clear I could see the fish only yards in front of me, but my casting skills were lacking. As I slipped into the rhythm of "cast and drift" my mind began to wander.
We are drawn to water. Not just as fisherman, but all of us. We are all drawn to water. Whether it’s a quiet lake, a roaring river, or the crashing of the ocean waves, there is something refreshing about being close to the water. It’s true in me, and it’s true in you.
As I peered upward toward the soaring rock peaks I noticed how desolate they were. Gray and brown cliffs covered in sparse vegetation that grasped for any trace of moisture, clinging to the steep terrain high above. The river valley was different, however. The floor of the canyon was covered in pine trees, hardwoods and grass. It was thick with life. The crystal clear waters churned through the rocks and fed life to everything that touched it. It was really the collision of two worlds.
Rivers are the source of life in the mountains. The river brings life to everything it touches.
The truth is that fervent life is always found between the mountain tops. The earth is always most alive in the valleys. Rivers do not run along the crest of the mountain top. They run in the valleys.
So often we live our lives trying to get from one mountain top to another, but the fact is, whether in nature or in life, there will always be a valley between the mountain tops. Between every season of success in your life there will always be a valley you must cross in order to get to the next stop.
Even through the pain, discomfort, and hard work, however, there is something to be gained. In the valleys of life is where the water is found and it’s where strength is built for the next climb. In the valley is where faith is developed for the next season. The valley is where we find the rest we need to keep pushing up the next hill.
No matter where you are today in your journey or pursuit, there will be a valley that must be crossed, but at the bottom of that valley will be the very thing you need to sustain you for the purpose you are seeking in life.
Rivers don’t run along the crest of the mountain, they run through the valley. In the valley is where life is born, character is strengthened and faith is built.
If you are in the valley today stop and look around. Whatever you’re facing right now is simply serving to prepare you for what’s coming up next. They valley always brings life, and your valley is no different.