What fills your mind when you think of white water rafting? It’s a risky sport; amazement as you hear the crashing waves against the boulders and trees, large branches float alongside, it’s a pretty fantastic experience.
Just watching the power of nature and feeling so small when you listen adds to the excitement. From the roadside, it may seem a beautiful peace but experiencing it while being on a raft is something entirely different.
Preparation, before you get on the raft, reminds you of the importance of the river guide. His expertise in river safety teaches you the proper fitting for a crash helmet or the proper fit to snug your vest so tight that you could barely breathe.
As the expert guides, you learn the paddle strokes: forward, back, or how to work as a team on the left or the right of the raft, how to back up a raft, and how to turn a raft. I see the river guides’ purpose: fun, memorable stories, love of nature, and safely bringing you back with an amazing experience.
The guide is your safety net and your compass while on the river. His purpose is to help you avoid the pitfalls or the obstacles that may stop you from having a safe track down the river. Obstacles such as huge boulders, swirling cesspools that are under the water, or trapping trees in different parts of the river might entangle.
Working as a team is huge when you’re on a raft which is why listening to the voice of the guide is so important. You have to be able to hear him above the crashing waves.
It is a metaphor for life to be able to listen to the guide above the voices or the noises in the crashing waves in our lives. To be able to listen to our Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, is priceless.
Revelation 22:1,17 NLT
 Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In 1995, I had a rafting experience that changed the trajectory of my life. I still reflect on what I learned daily. Because I almost lost my life on that white water rafting trip on the Cache de Poudre River.
I was hyper-vigilant listening to the guides’ instructions because I wanted to have a great trip and was scared to go on class 4-5 rapids. I needed to trust the guide to give me the right directions. The crash position is looked as if you were a baby with your arms wrapped around your knees bobbing in the water. I figured it was important to listen to these things. I hoped I would not be thrown out of the raft.
Unfortunately, I realized my need for the crash position when all eight of us were sucked out of the raft in a bend called Cardiac Corner. We were trying to help the raft ahead of us to propel out of the suction in a cesspool, Cardiac corner is a class 4-5 rapid, risky because of spring runoff. I felt the flaying legs of the people who were in the raft above me as I was in a cesspool trying to figure out where the sky was.
All eight of us scrambled to swim to the shore. I was below everyone, I was the last rafter rescued, crashing and entangling trees, smashing into boulders, twirling upside down, in the crash position, even as the raft went over my head.
I prayed for a calm mind and had an amazing conversation with my God. I felt as if I was sitting in the hand of the Lord once I humbled myself and said “Lord if I’m supposed to survive this and help me to be calm and not get too badly injured”. It was a transforming experience in my life. I ended up with many bruises head to toe, but no head injury. I determined to follow the Lord’s plan for my life not Mary’s plan. My husband, who was on the raft, could not believe my peacefulness. We relocated to Colorado and my journey with my God has never been the same.
Life has many twists and turns, however, God is immutable, never changing! I still go back to those key transforming lessons. I hope this reflection might be a help to you as you navigate the waters and the raging rapids life can bring.
Reflections to meditate on:
- We can’t do this life alone. There’s something bigger than us, our Creator God who made all things.
- Expect the unexpected but don’t be afraid. Behind the scenes the Lord is orchestrating great things, don’t be afraid of the bends of your river journey.
- The crashing waves may feel overwhelming at times but reach out to Jesus who walks on water and wants to be your guide.
- Every bump and bruise will have a purpose you may not see initially. But you will grow through the challenges of life, especially when you ask Jesus to guide you.
- His plan is to bring you abundant life, so reach out for God‘s goodness.
- It takes faith and something bigger than ourselves the Father, His son: Jesus, and the Holy Spirit can be our compass and our guide. He really does want the best for us!
- There may be those around you that live in fear and want to keep you back from God’s best. Don’t allow someone else’s journey to stop you from yours.
- And trust Jesus in all things, He is the healer of mind, body, and soul and through his Holy Spirit, You will be blown away at how far He takes you in this river of life.
 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.