Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 14, 2008 - Life Jacket

This past weekend I took in a different form of athletics – one that fits more in the extreme sports. My son and I took a trip down the New River in West Virginia on a whitewater raft. The trip consisted of 3 or 4 sets of class 5 rapids, plus many more sets that were very significant.

While listening to the instructions of the trip guide I was making sure to take it all in because I knew this guy had been there and done that. He gave details on what to do if the boat flips, if you flip out of the boat. Etc. He made it sound like a very real possibility and here I was taking my son out on his 13th birthday.

We ended up being on the sweeper boat that was last in our line of boats. Therefore we could see what was happening to the boats in front of us. The front boat had the tour leader that had given instructions and sure enough on the first set of rapids we saw his boat flip over. (It was interesting to watch some of the reservation on my son’s face during this time – and to try to hide some of mine.)

We made it through those rapids fine. A little further down river we were able to swim a set of rapids. I knew we should be pretty free of rocks since they were letting us intentionally go in the water. Yet what I didn’t know was about a thing called the “elevator shaft.” Shortly into my swim I hit perfectly between some waves and was taken under. I was under long enough to think through the fact that I didn’t know which direction was up and had to simply stop and let my life jacket do its job and float me to the surface. It was when I surfaced that our boat guide screamed out that I had hit the “elevator shaft” and how awesome it was. On the tail end of it I did see it as awesome but during I was forced to learn a big lesson in faith. In this case faith in the protective gear I was wearing. The guide had reminded us beforehand that the vest would be our safety.

The trip consisted of many more adventures including me being thrown out of the boat as we tried to surf a wave and my son getting to “ride the bull” as he held onto a strap on the front of the boat and rode the last rapids with his legs hanging over the front of the boat. It was an intense day on the water.

Obviously my personal lesson was a reminder of what it means to live by faith. Many times in life we simply don’t know what is going to happen – we don’t even know which way is up. Many times we think the rapids ahead look to be too much for us. Many times we choose to simply stay in the calm waters and not exercise any faith.

The key is the object of your faith. When I was in the “elevator shaft” I remembered that my life jacket was made to raise me to the top. I did not attempt to swim at all, I let it do the work. Yet in life I often forget to let God do His work. I “swim” frantically trying to make things work instead of trusting the course the Lord has set me on.

How about you? Do you trust God and His Word? Are you a person that when led to do something out of the norm instead try to stay in the calm waters? Maybe you have felt led to take a missions trip yet chickened out. Maybe you felt led to give to something financially but instead decided to protect your bank account – all the while claiming to be exercising wise stewardship.

I believe we have become too comfortable in American Christianity and we don’t live with enough adventure and trust in the Lord. (He is more faithful than my life vest.)

I think of those in Hebrews 11 that comprise the “hall of faith.” Think of Abraham who set out for a new home, not even knowing where God was leading him. The key was he knew Who was leading him!

Physically while in the “elevator shaft” I trusted in what was going to raise me to the top. In life I want to trust in Who will keep me “afloat” more than where I am going.

What is God calling you to do? I don’t care how big or crazy it is, if God is calling trust Him!!!!!!

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