I recently returned from a cross county road trip. My handsome hubby and I traveled from Arizona through New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, and a tiny part of Texas. We explored, we hiked, we rafted, we saw family and we reconnected. It was a (mostly) wonderful time of being away.
One of the really memorable things we did was a short white water rafting trip in Colorado. He had always wanted to do that, but honestly, I had no interest. In fact I had the opposite of interest, it was a definite “nope” in my book. You have fun with that, I’ll be shopping. However, not that long ago, my attitude changed, and I developed this sense of adventure. Suddenly, I really wanted to go, like really really!
So there we are, life vests strapped on tight, helmets secured (and messing up an otherwise good hair day) in place. We were in the raft with some people we had never met, trusting the guide at the back of the boat for our adventure and safety. It was a beautiful day in Colorado to be on the water!
As we started out, the water was flowing smoothly down river. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery, making small talk with our new friends (co-rafters), and the sunshine. We were excited to be doing something memorable. Honestly though, the most memorable part of the entire two hour trip was the place where the water got fast and rough , where my heart beat quickly with adrenaline, and where I felt just a little bit scared that I might flip over into the cold water! I mean, there’s a reason we were wearing helmets and life vests! I had to listen to the guide and follow his instructions if I was going to stay dry. This was the real deal.
Most of the trip downriver was relatively smooth, just a few small bumps and twists. Nothing much to remember really. But eventually we got to the place where we needed our guide to help us steer through and stay upright on the water. The boat started moving faster and bumpier, heading toward what we could see ahead would be the rough patch. The white water. The entire reason we paid the money and got in the boat!
What a blast! We laughed and cheered! The rush did not disappoint. The thrill of getting through that tumultuous (but short lived) patch of river, brought the most excitement and forged a marking place forever in my memory.
My life has been a lot like that.
Looking back on my life, I remember most, those places where things got rough, where it was just a little bit scary to maneuver. Places where I didn’t know how to get through, so I had to just keep moving forward and wait for the waters to be calm again. And I had to trust my guide. I had to listen to Him and follow His lead.
I realize that rafting is different. I chose to go rafting. I gave some of my money and actually paid for the experience. I knew it would be over in two hours and that I would go back to my vacation. I knew that even if I did go in the river, that I would be rescued and get back in the boat to safely complete my trip. I trusted that this experience would be short lived, and the. I could go on with the parts of my life that mattered to me.
But when struggles in life come along, we don’t always have that assurance, do we? We would never choose to upset our smooth, happy life. We would not likely pay someone to take us into sketchy circumstances that we would otherwise naturally avoid. We would not, by choice, enter a time of trial without knowing ahead of time just how long it would go on. We probably wouldn’t ever willingly get out of the safety of our lives (or boat) with out knowing first, that we’d be rescued. But life isn’t like that is it? We don’t typically get that choice. Life just…happens.
But experience is a wonderful teacher. Because I have been through rough waters before in life, I know that each time God has rescued me. Each time I have learned a little bit more about how to stay a float. I have been rescued and put my feet on dry ground again. God has shown me time and time again that He knows the way, He knows where the rough waters are, and that He will tell me where to dig in and paddle harder to keep from going under. And most importantly, that He stays In the boat with me, giving instruction and lending His knowledge and experience to my journey. I just need to listen. And follow His lead.
Psalm 56:3 tells me that “when I am afraid, I put my trust in You”. Life is often scary, and I am afraid sometimes. Often I don’t know where things are headed, and I feel unsettled about it. Scripture assures me that I can trust God when I am worried. Nahum 1:7 says “The Lord is a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him.” When I try to go it alone, when I trust in myself, I have no peace, no confidence that things will be ok. I only think “worst case scenario”. Worry and doubt come in and rob me of any joy in the journey.
Even though we go through rough waters in life, and our heart beats fast, and we are a little bit scared, we can trust the Lord to guide us to safety, to put our feet on dry land. We need to actively apply scripture to our lives, and purposefully choose to give God time and space to be our leader.
This is who I strive to be. Don’t you?