Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last weekend a friend and I enjoyed a drive to Raccoon Mountain to see the beautiful fall colors. The state-designated Wildlife Observation Area on the mountain is home to deer, foxes, and raccoons, of course. A beautiful whitetail deer allowed us to drive right next to her before she leisurely trotted to the edge of the woods. While the trees were not yet at their peak color, we were still able to see some rich and vibrant hues. The maples were starting to turn golden, and the dogwoods were already a vivid red. The farewell summers, a small wild flower, offered a delicate contrast of purple and white amid the autumn shades of the fallen leaves.

Raccoon Mountain is the home to a Pumped Storage Plant, TVA’s largest hydro facility. At night, water is pumped into the reservoir while electrical demand is low and then released during the day when power demand is higher.

Peering over the observation deck at the facility, we viewed the waters of the Tennessee River where we saw several boats cruising the waterway. I also noticed some large cylindrical shaped concrete structures lined up along the river’s edge. I learned that these are baffles that prevent turbulent water from entering the main channel of the river during power production. They serve as a safety net to keep boats from being swept away by strong currents when the water is released. It is reassuring to know that these sturdy, immoveable structures provide protection for boaters as they traverse the river commercially and recreationally.

We too have a baffle to protect us. God is our baffle. When we fear that troubled waters are about to overtake us, we can turn to him. He promises to be with us as we navigate the currents of life. We learn of God’s faithfulness in Isaiah 43:1-3. God promised to be with Israel when they passed through the “fires” and “waters.”

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3

Let’s be careful to note that God doesn’t say that he will prevent troubled waters from coming in to our lives and he doesn’t promise to make them less terrible. He does promise us companionship throughout the journey.

Thank you, God, for the beauty of autumn.

Thank you for being our baffle.

Thank you for your gracious assurance that in all the experiences we face, you will be with us. Amen.


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