Down the River
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown.” - Isaiah 43:2a
We are in the middle of summer and for most of us that usually means very hot days. One way we probably all enjoy doing through these days is going lakes and rivers to cool off in. Has anyone ever gone down a river on a kayak or canoe, maybe even tubed down a river? Or maybe you’ve enjoyed just floating on a lake on a float letting the water move you around while you relax. And for the more adventurous types, there may be a few who have tried river rafting.
No matter what we’ve done, there is one thing all those ideas have in common; relaxing on the water. It can be calming just floating along the smooth waters enjoying the coolness of the river or lake listening to the sounds around you. It’s calming just relaxing in God’s nature as you float or glide along the way.
I’ve been able to go both canoeing and tubing down a couple rivers and it was a fun experience with my friends. And for my family, my grandmother loved the water, raised us all to enjoy the water. She herself always loved to just lay on her back and float along the way letting the water lead her around the lakes we swam in.
But there is something tricky about water. It has a mind of its own and can easily go from smooth peaceful water to rough waters ahead. Currents can go faster in places; winds can stir the water around and depending on the river you can find rushing water as it moves around obstacles in its path or if you’re not careful you can find yourself by some waterfalls as the terrain might drop here and there. And if you’re in the lake with many boats further out speeding around you can find yourself bobbing up and down with the waves.
Those times your smooth sailing might get a little rough, you might tip over in canoe, kayak or tube or you might have to tighten your control to keep from tipping over as you navigate through those rough patches. But you are never alone when you get into the waters. Yes, if you are with friends, they are great to help when in a bind but if they don’t know what they’re doing either, you will probably find yourself in the water sputtering as you now have to climb back in. We all have a Captain to guide us through the water if we listen to Him. He is with us leading us as to which way to go to stay on course “If you go the wrong way- to the right or to the left- you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the right way, walk in it’. -Isaiah 30:21. And if we are already in the rough waters, He will help guide us back out of them safely. We just need to trust our Captain and listen.
Life can be like the rivers and lakes. We could be floating along nicely enjoying the view as we go along and then just like the unpredictable water, rough patches will pop up suddenly and begin tossing us around. An appliance could break in the home, the children suddenly need something unexpected, sickness could enter in, a job loss or home relocation could spring up shaking the calm waters. But like Jesus our Captain is guiding on the waters, He is guiding us in our lives. When we listen to His voice, stay on the course He has laid out before us, we will get through those rough patches too. Jesus never said life would be always be smooth sailing, but He did promise to always be with us as we go along the way in both the good times and the rough times. And He also promised that He will provide a way of escape -1 Corinthians 10:31.
So, I say go and enjoy your summer down the river. Bask in the sunshine and relaxation of the waters and allow God’s nature to refresh you. And when the rough water hits, buckle down and listen to your Captain and He will always guide you through. And in life always be thankful for each smooth day and cling more tightly to Jesus, your Captain, through the rough ones. He will always see you through.
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