Or rather we have come upon them. We were floating peacefully down the stream but then we heard a noise. It started as a low hiss, and then the commotion got louder. We see spray on the horizon; we feel the rumble and a roar of rapids.
What was a wide river has now become narrow.
What was a calm river has become wild. There is no way out but through.
What does the scripture say about this? Is there any wisdom in the Bible for such a time as this? James the brother of Jesus and the bishop of the church in Jerusalem says:
"Count it all joy my brothers and sisters when you meet trials of various kinds"
A kayaker seeks out the trials.
A kayaker looks at the rocks and the waves as joys!
These threatening features on the river demand all our effort. We don't focus on a rock and wring our hands in fear; we look past the rock to the place we want to go and with all our balance and skill and strength get on with the business of getting around it.
How do you approach the trials of life? As joys like rapids to be run?
There is a great difference between the woman who kayaks with confidence and the one who paddles with fear. Fear drains the energy; fear makes our movements tentative; fear saps our strength. When we proceed in fear, the waves push us where they want to. Paralyzed, we find ourselves pinned against the rocks. We are flipped upside down and trapped without a breath.
But if we are confident in the Lord, if we believe that he has made the river and us to go down it, if we trust that this rapid is God-ordained, then we will do well to rejoice. Confidence in God is faith. "All of this is in his hands; there is nothing here that will hurt me"
St Paul, a man who was called to run many rapids, wrote this:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice...The Lord is at hand; do not
be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanks-
giving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which
surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I am learning to be thankful for the rapids.
I am learning to be peaceful in the midst of trials.
Jesus has run this rocky way before me.
God and Heavenly Father: thank you for allowing me to go through trials and difficulty; you are teaching me to rely upon you and you are conforming me to the image of your Son Jesus who suffered for me. Grant me grace to glorify you by faith in my trial and give me power to praise you in the midst of the rapids; through your Son Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen