My brother and I live hundreds of miles apart, so it’s not often that we spend time together. A few weeks before the 4th of July holiday, he invited my husband and me to spend a few days with him and his wife at a cozy cabin. We pulled up pictures of the cabin and said yes. Nestled in a quiet location next to the New River, it was the perfect place to relax and float the river on inner-tubes. I knew it would be a great weekend.
The day of arrival, it didn’t take long for us to settle in and make our way to the river’s edge. We set out folding chairs, put our feet up, and watched as people floated by in kayaks and inner-tubes. After dinner, we ended the day relaxing on the screened-in porch listening to the river and anticipating the fun of floating down it.
The next day dawned with perfect weather to float the river. The water was refreshing, and the sunshine kept us comfortable. After a leisurely float of about 45 minutes, including a few small rapids for fun, we made it to the take out point and took a break for lunch. The day was slipping away, so it wasn’t long before we made another run. After such a great time, we set our sights on a longer float the next day.
The next morning, we awoke with the hope of completing a four-hour float further downstream. It was ambitious, but we were excited to spend more time on the river. In spite of a threat of thunderstorms, we packed the floating cooler and dropped in for what we hoped would be a relaxing, yet exciting float.
The current was slow as we passed under a big bridge and floated around a bend. We kicked back in our tubes, content to drift along and take in the beauty of the scenery; for a while.
We had anticipated that the flow of the current would pick up as we made our way downstream. But that wasn’t the case. The reality was that sometimes we got stuck in an eddy[i] and didn’t make headway at all. What we thought would be a leisurely float became an exercise in using our arms to paddle ourselves downriver.
After what seemed like forever, we rounded another bend and spotted a boat with two fishers. We called out and asked what time it was and how long it would be until we would arrive at the take-out point. The response was disheartening. We had been on the river for just over an hour and had three more hours to go. We were in for the long-haul.
While my brother and his wife were content to drift along, I decided I was going to paddle as hard and long as necessary to make headway. I could see dark clouds approaching, and wanted to be off the river before the storms came.
Eventually, the river widened, and I heard the sound of rapids ahead. I was so excited! I scoped out what looked like the best line[iii] and went for it. It was awesome! The momentum of the rapids and the drop in the river propelled me quickly downriver.
Until then, I had been able to stay ahead of the storm. But now the skies were growing darker, rain began to fall, and thunder rumbled overhead. I felt twinges of fear and began to pray.
You can imagine my relief when I rounded another bend and spotted two red Adirondack chairs which indicated we were nearing our takeout point. With glee, I hollered back to my brother and pointed out the chairs. We were almost there!
After 4 ½ hours, we were finally back on dry land. It was an adventure I’ll never forget.
- Do you think drifting through life can be useful? It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you can’t take time to drift and get away from the busyness of life. Even Jesus listened to His father and took time to get away with His closest friends.
“The apostles returned from their mission and gathered around Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while.” 32 They slipped away and left by sailboat for a deserted spot.” Mark 6:30-32 TPT
- Do you feel you are stuck in an eddy and don’t have the strength to make it out on your own? You don’t have to, the Holy Spirit is with you and will give you His power to make your way out.
“You are my strength and my shield from every danger.
When I fully trust in you, help is on the way.” Psalm 28:7 TPT
- Do you try to make headway your way, only to discover your plans didn’t work out as you thought they would? His ways are always better than our ways.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
I’m interested to hear which of these are your most significant challenge.
- Is it setting aside time to experience the peace of Divine drift with God?
- Is it feeling stuck and not having the power of making it out on your own?
- Is it being determined to do life your way instead of God’s way, and dealing with the fallout?
[i] Eddy – An area in the river where the current seems to turnaround and head upstream
[ii] Headway – Progress or rate of progress in sailing (progress in general)
[iii] Line – The route to be taken around obstacles and avoid obstructions