Have you ever been white water rafting? It’s fun...and slightly scary. It’s all fun and games until they demonstrate what happens to a victim of something called a “foot entrapment.” After learning how to survive falling overboard, watching a poorly-made (and terrifying) instructional video from the 1980’s, and donning some nasty life preserver that was previously worn by a sweaty teenager, your group is herded onto the raft.
Would any sane person do this without an expert? Enter the key component to make the rafting experience much less lethal: the guide. The guide sits in the back and acts as the rudder. He or she gives commands such as “all back” or “left forward hard” to propel the raft in the right direction. Without the guide, a raft will usually spin aimlessly in circles down the river.
I was thinking of this analogy the other day as I was walking through campus. My mom (who went on many a rafting trip with me and is an excellent paddler) used to talk about this as a picture of our lives in relation to God’s direction for our efforts. Sometimes, I feel as if we’re paddling down the river without much of a purpose. This is not true, though. God spoke to me and said that if we allow Him to steer us, our momentum will have purpose. Like all good guides, He knows the rocks ahead and has already made the journey before.
In the future we want to continue to follow the Lord’s specific directions and not rely on our sheer willpower to move our lives anywhere. Momentum is nothing without direction. Also, if I ever go rafting again I’m seriously considering buying my own life preserver...because that’s just gross.