When my friend, Hilton Long, came home from a vacation in the Smoky Mountains, he shared with his Sunday School class a most unusual experience. It happened early one morning when he was trout fishing in the Smokey Mountains.
He loved to go trout fishing in the Smoky Mountain streams. This time he was anticipating “the big one”.
Hilton and Ella Ruth had arrived the afternoon before, and had camped in a familiar area. He rose before
dawn, gathering all his equipment, and was
n the banks of the cool fresh stream by the time the Almighty said once again,
Image by Sue Waters via Flickr
“Let there be light.”
He slowly worked his way upstream, quietly throwing the fishing fly exactly where he wanted it to go. In the first thirty minutes he caught several fine trout. He was anticipating the big one, when all of a sudden he was interrupted by a very low voice
me where nearby. His eyes searched the foggy area, but he could see no one until he looked up and saw an old fisherman sitting on top of a large rock overlooking a beautiful waterfall just ahead. The old man was talking to someone, but he was not looking at Hilton, and there was no one else present. Listening very carefully, Hilton could hear the low voice saying, “I hear him. I hear him. I hear him.” Then after a few minutes went by, the old man spoke again. He was still not looking at Hilton, but this time he spoke a little louder, as if trying to get attention. He began to ask, “Can you not hear him? Can you not hear him?” Hilton then began to focus on trying to hear what the old man was hearing.
After several minutes went by with the old man saying, “I can hear him. Can’t you hear him?”, Hilton decided that the old man was following the same pattern that Jesus did, “And a great while before dawn Jesus rose and went out to a quiet place to pray. Hilton decided to use this same time to try to listen to God speak. Hilton began to silently praise God for His wonderful creation, and for revealing Himself to human beings, whom He had made in God’s own image. Finally, after a long silence the old man spoke again, “I can hear Him! Can you?” It was then that Hilton answered the old man. Speaking in a low voice, but very clearly, “Yes, I can hear Him. Thank you for including me in your morning talk with Him.”
Hilton says that as he made his way back to have breakfast with Ella Ruth, it became clearer to him the meaning of the words of Jesus to his fisherman friends, Simon Peter and Andrew, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men” (Mark 1:17).When he got back to the camp Ella Ruth had breakfast ready and asked, “Well, did you catch the big one?” He responded, “I surely did!”
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