A few years ago I went to Idaho and had the opportunity to go on a one-day rafting trip down the Salmon River. It was an awesome experience! I’d only been rafting once over 30 years ago so I was pretty nervous. There were six of us, plus our guide, Ryan. He seemed very knowledgeable about the river as he explained what we were likely to encounter on our trip.
We were each given a life jacket and helmet for safety. Because the water was very cold, we were also equipped with wetsuits, splash jackets and booties. As we got onto the raft we each received a paddle along with the instruction that whenever our guide called out “all forward”, we were to paddle in sync as hard as we could.
While traveling down the river, there was so much beauty to see. The peaceful times were relaxing and some of us would talk to each other about how much fun we were having! When we were approaching the next rapid, we would get still and quiet with paddles at the ready, waiting for our guide to call out “all forward”. He would sometimes continue to encourage us by saying “keep going”, “dig deep”, “you can do it” before finally calling out that we could stop paddling. We were over that rapid and headed for smoother water again. I never looked at the whitewater while we were in it. I never worried about how big it was or whether we would make it over. I just kept my hands on the paddle and my eye on what was right in front of me.
We got splashed and bounced around quite a bit and we would lose our balance, but no one fell out of the raft, due mostly to the experienced leadership of our guide. Ryan knew which parts of the rapids were safe to travel down, and which parts to avoid. He knew that the timing for taking each rapid had to be precise to be successfully navigated.
Everything worked just like Ryan explained at the beginning of the trip and the whole experience was amazing! After the trip I thought about how much trust I had put in him to guide us safely downstream to our destination. I had never met this young man before, but I put my life in his hands. He was sitting behind us with two large oars directing our raft and I was facing forward. When we approached a rapid and my heart was beating faster, I couldn’t see him. I just listened to his voice and was immediately obedient to what he told me to do. And at the end of our trip, the six of us celebrated a successful day on the river and we thanked Ryan for being such a great guide.
This is a great illustration for my life. I’m on the river of my journey with God as my Guide.
- My Guide equips me for the journey Eph. 6:11
- In the smooth water I can rest knowing my Guide is in charge Ps. 23:1-2
- I can’t always see what’s ahead of me, but my Guide knows Heb. 4:13 NLT
- When the waters start to get rough, I can be still and quiet to hear my Guide’s voice John 10:27 NLT
- When my Guide tells me “all forward” I can keep my eye on what’s right in front of me and dig in Deut. 13:4 NLT
- I don’t need to worry in the whitewater because my Guide has everything under control Ps. 121:7-8 NIV, Deut 31:6
- When I am safely on the other side of the challenge, I can celebrate my Guide’s provision and thank Him for bringing me through Psalms 118:21 NLT