When I finally had the opportunity to leave the office for a trip this summer I was
ecstatic. I packed all my gear the night before; I woke up before dawn and eagerly awaited
putting on the river for the first time in months. After hopping in the van with the advanced
paddlers, everyone excitedly chatted about the adventures of the week and the thrill to come of
conquering a new river with exhilarating rapids. As the crew approached the river, excitement
started to fade with a few passengers dozing off and the others not far behind. Finally we
arrived and everyone poured out and started the work of untying and unloading boats.
All ready to go, excitement grew until people started to peak over at the river. The gorge
was thick and luscious so they couldn’t see much of the river, but what they could see looked
mild and shallow. No one was impressed! As the canoers and kayakers launched their boats I
heard several murmurs of how much smaller this river was and how it was a downgrade from
the broader, stronger rivers they had paddled earlier in the week.
We splashed through the first small rapids, then, seemingly out of nowhere, the horizon
line disappeared and the roar of rushing whitewater grew intense. The paddle signal was given
to eddy out and the whole crew dragged their boats ashore and hiked down the gorge a bit to
scout the nearing whitewater. When the campers laid eyes on the rapid, an intimidating rock slide into
an eight foot waterfall drop, the look of excitement and thrill returned to their eyes and everyone
carefully listened to instructions on how to navigate the new section of whitewater. The group
timidly decided who would go down first after the trip leader, and after scrounging up a bit of
courage one by one they all navigated the rapid successfully. After running the rapid once, most
people hiked their boats back up the river so they could go again and practice their lines even
more while they had the time of their lives flying off the drop.
There’s a lesson for all of us in this story. God doesn’t promise that the road (or river) will
look like it always has. He doesn’t promise to make the path that He leads us on straight and
easy. He doesn’t even promise that we’ll always love the direction we’re headed. God invites us
to walk with Him and go on the grandest adventure that has been set out for us when we don’t
even know what we’re paddling towards. We may not know the way and it may be rocky,
difficult, scary, underwhelming or any other adjective under the sun, but if we choose to follow
God and His will for us then He promises us the courage, strength and most of all grace to
continue on His path. We can plan all we want, but we’ll never know where exactly we’re
headed until we arrive. Trust in God and trust that the plan He has for your life is going to be the
most beautiful adventure of all.