As we watch the water rush over the rocks creating white crests, Andrew asks, “Could you go down that river?” I tried my best to explain the fun and thrill of white-water rafting. I think back on my times down the Colorado River; but even better, the time my sister and I bested a tributary river in the Amazon.
While relaying these stories to Andrew, he comments, “Is it safe?” It causes me to pause because, no, it’s not really safe, but it sure is fun! So we talk about the difference between going down rapids in a raft, with a guide and a life jacket and then what it would be like falling into a river without all of these measures being taken. In a raft, with a guide and life jacket, you feel the thrill of the ride, the wind on your face and the adventure right in front of you! It is still dangerous and a bit scary, but also fun and amazing! If you were to fall into a swift moving river without all the things, that exciting thrill would quickly turn to panic and a desperate need to survive.
What is the difference? Same river. Same person. Different situation.
I tried to paint the picture for Andrew. Life has many scary turns, rushing water, and roaring rapids that can feel like it’s too much to handle, because it is. However, as believers, we have safety in the raft. Our heavenly Father is the one who carries us and Jesus is our guide; the one who shows us where to go, how fast to paddle and steers us around giant boulders that we can’t see. Lastly, we have our life vest, the Holy Spirit, who has sealed us because of the saving work of Jesus on the cross. We need not be worried that we will drown or be lost because “When you believed you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” As one of the high school girls in my Bible study pointed out, if the water is calm, those outside of the raft, “ who are chillin’” will look at you and say, “What a boring life you live! Throw off that life vest and come float with us!” But, the moment those inevitable rapids begin, things shift quickly.
Today you might wonder if life is safe. I guarantee you; it is not. Uncertainties abound… sickness, pandemics, shootings, accidents and more - today you may be feeling the rapids, or you may believe the waters are calm in your life. Jesus doesn’t offer you a way out of this life but he will navigate you through it all. John 20:31 says, “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He offers life eternal and life today. I urge you to believe in Him today and allow Him to lead you down this crazy river of life, whether life feels tumultuous or calm.