Rafting trip of a life
Well, I have been traveling a lot and have just been going, and going, and going. During my travels I had the opportunity to hear many different messages and read many messages and stayed solid in the Word. During this time, there has been a story that blended with life so well that I had to share it.
I was reading “Uprising” by Erwin McManus and he has written some great messages to encourage, but there are times when a story just collides with the holy spirit and our life to just make everything seem to blend together.
The story begins by explaining about taking a raft trip with some co-workers. Being from Idaho, I had experienced that exact situation. Many people in the boat that have never been in anything but a swimming pool that are now trying to figure out how to put on the life jackets and still look “cool”. Even the people that have floated before, they want to demonstrate their dominance and those life jackets just don’t properly fit.
If you have ever floated a whitewater river, you have experienced those calm stretches that just do not let the person know what is coming. How people get lulled into the “float”. Little do they know that they are actually offering their one and only life to an adventure to come. Not all floats are class 5, but we all know that there are people that we know that can injure themselves in the gutter some days.
The story goes on to explain how they boats came up on the first set of rapids and how a boat turned over. and some went swimming. This is where the story just comes alive with the spirit.
As the people panicked and climbed out on rocks, the fear turned to anger. They were embarrassed, and now they were mad at someone putting them into that position. As if they were forced to get in the boat upstream. Many of them were the proud “veterans” just a mile up stream.
Now some begin to ask, “is that the big rapid we heard about? At least we lived through it.” Then then are informed, “no, that is not it. That is just a starter”.
Then the uprising begins. The ones that are discouraged and upset now just want to leave. They don’t want to participate any longer. They literally say, “I’m not getting in that raft. I am going back.” Then to be informed that “you can’t go back. We have float a couple miles and it would be more dangerous to try to walk back up the banks of the river.” Their only option is to tighten their life jackets and get back in the raft that just failed them. To get in and be a team player to survive the adventure.
How this story hit home was that it was so reminiscent of our life in this world. We go about our ways not paying attention, just like when they were drifting in the slow moving water. We get confident in our abilities and just get relaxed to the point we do not focus. Then a challenge comes along and knocks us out or maybe just catches us off guard and just wakes us up, as we take a deep breath, indicating “that was close”.
We get knocked all around in our lives and we want to “go back”. We need to realize that we need to pay attention and minimize our drama. We can not avoid the rapids of life, but we can sure be prepared and pay attention. Another thing that is so critical is to not journey down the river alone. The safest way to get through the rapids is to team up with some one that has been through the challenge before us. This teamwork is best described as discipleship.
We are in an adventure and we must realize that we need to be alert and ready and even when we don’t hit the hole just right, we gather up our gear, suit up again, get in the raft and take on the next challenge. We can not just sit on the rock and refuse to go on. No one survives just sitting on a rock in the rapids.
Also we can go through some rapids that we begin to master. They don’t seem tough to us any more. That is when we need to turn to the ones around us and encourage and help them. To show the less experienced how we have learned. It is not about them raising us up as a river God, but as a partner that they want to be in a boat with.
So, be prepared, be aware and don’t get lulled into mediocrity, the rapids are coming. Don’t deny that they are coming, it will not make your trip any easier. Pay attention, and realize, that there is a great joy of rafting and shooting the rapids which is also apparent in our real lives when we go through challenges. We just need the proper perspective. Have a safe trip, we will meet up at take-out.
Edwin McManus has written many books that just really inspire me. If you are in search of a good book, I would highly recommend “Chasing Daylight” and “Uprising”.