As I settled onto the Little Pigeon River with 22 other ladies recently I quickly learned that I had never been as aware of how short my arms and legs are and how completely and utterly out of control I was in a lime green tube much too small for my big behind. I was not in control of my surroundings.
You know, There are times in my life where I immediately understand and hear what God is saying, and times where lessons build on top of one another until He is ready to show me something and my memory is pricked as if by a small electrical shock. Its then He chooses to remind me suddenly of all the seemingly random conversations that have taken place and are tied together, the items I have taken time to read that are now revealed to hold a common theme I didnt recognize before, and the circumstances that have happened that are finally set before me in a timeline that uncovers the lesson like a sweet piece of chocolate I have craved.
As we began our tubing journey on this Saturday morning and I watched the faces of my friends old and new go from fear and excitement to uncertainty and back to immediate fear for some, I realized that I was witnessing another perfect picture and analogy of our journey with Him and with one another in this life. We were quickly coming to understand we could not control this adventure.
Oh what a lesson this day revealed!
When I have realized I am out of control I have reacted in many different ways.
Sometimes I've raced backwards over a sharp drop in the current, backwards even with no sense of what was ahead, and I have panicked at first. I remember what it felt like as I was I was losing my Dad to Alzheimers, as I was losing my job, as I have faced losing relationships that required me to choose to not enable their bad decisions and what that could mean, the way my heart lurched the first time my son told me he was praying about enlisting in the marines a few months back, and the night the recent April storms hit and water began pouriong in every room as the hail rained down and I heard the wind pulling at my home. I felt swept away as I did at times in the river the other day. I flailed about trying to simulate control and trying to determine on my own what to do first instead of listening intently and purposefully for Him. But I had to trust, and when I finally chose to let go and let Him be God He fulfilled a promise given
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 NIV
When I have drifted off path and found myself becoming entangled in shallow water and rocks in my way, He has shown me He knows when I need a quick rescue in my tender state. It's then He sends someone by in their own lime green tube to grab my hand and puls me along back to His current. Like when a friend has gently showed me I am being selfish, or lovingly brought to my attention that I need to turn back before stumbling over something I was placing before God in my life.
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 1:8 NIV
Then there are times He required I step off the ledge in faith and depend on Him to provide and do as He asked. To get up out of the swirling eddy I was caught up in - a strong, but wrong current for me - and literally walk out of it in His strength and to meet head on what He had already equipped me for. I have met impactful people I wouldn't have otherwise, been placed in ministry I never dreamd possible, and experienced Him like I never had before all beause I said Yes and let go of my fear!
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11 NIV
Sometimes I have find myself having to be patient in a calm pool of almost no obvious current at all - waiting on Him to move me and coax me when its His perfect timing, even as I watch others joy riding past me with their arms in the air - thats their journey at that given moment and at some point they will watch me fly by in abandonment! As I wait on my next path, career, ministry today I am reminded that...
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 NIV
I understood as I watched us all bob and race along on this day that we are all on the same jouney, just at different places, and we switch roles and our paths intermingle in many different ways and at many different points.
I have never been in control. Hard to swallow sometimes. When I try to do anything in myself I find eventually a treacherous place of panic. If I let Him do what He is trying to do and just hang on to the big green tube in trust, then the peril turns into a thrill ride that we're on together that He manuvers me through safely in His hand
This is what the LORD says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go" Isaiah 48:17
If I trust Him for my salvation and eternity, then can't I can surely trust Him in my every day?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5 NIV
What blessed me so much that day on the river as as we exited for the day was the faces now reflected excitement, release, and even an afinity for the war wounds some endured along the way as they learned to relax and let go :)
I was utterly and totally out of control and I loved it - the true freedom of a real adventure!
Joyful on the Journey,