If anyone knows me personally, I am sure “party girl” would be a good term to describe me. I love a good time! I love being with friends, laughing, being silly and just letting loose. One of my favourite activities of all time is floating down the river. I love it for many reasons – I am in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by water, I have no control over the pace or direction, the water is in control and I just get to be! There are no expectations of me, and I can say and be who I really am. I can’t be impatient to get to where I am going, I can only row enough to move a little bit at a time, and when you have 10 girls in boats all tied together, we have to work as a team to avoid fallen trees and jutting boulders. It’s not the destination that’s the goal it’s the journey, and that’s why I love it so much.
Just describing the river float to you flashes so many comparisons to life with Christ. I think we get our Christian ‘walk’ so wrong sometimes. In fact, I think it would be more fitting to call it our Christian ‘float’.
But, like most things in life, we mess it up, because many of us treat our faith and life like it’s our Christian ‘drive’. We treat life like we’re on a highway, behind the wheel. We think we are in control, or at least try our best to stay in control. WE decide our pace, speed up when we want to, or slow down when we get tired. WE decided where we want to go. WE decide when we stop and when WE go. WE yell at other drivers when they get in OUR way to OUR destination. It isn’t until we wake up and find ourselves driving head on into oncoming traffic that we lift our hands in the air and summon Carey Underwood singing, “Jesus, take the wheel!”
The problem with this imagery is we should never be behind the wheel in the first place! Individuals, preachers, churches, leaders, even parents, are leading this next generation and themselves further from God, because of our need to control. If we, The Body Of Christ, don’t learn to surrender fully, we will perpetually lead ourselves away from God, not to God!
Life is like a box of chocolates, yes, but life is really like a river float.
God said in Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
The idea of this terrifies us, because heading out into the waters means that you have little control over anything and you cannot predict the journey ahead. When I go floating with my friends every summer, there is always nervousness and anticipation as to what the river will bring us. Sometimes we have had crazy and hilarious tips off our boat and it’s been fast and dangerous, other times our only startle was a beaver slapping it’s tail in the water. Some trips we reached our destination in 2 hours, and other times in 4 hours.
When we choose to follow Christ, we choose to get in the boat and let Him take us on an unpredictable journey. Jesus laid asleep in the fishermen’s boat as a storm raged around them. His new disciples were gaining a very valuable lesson as to what it meant to truly give it all up and follow Christ. They had no control over the storm, or so they thought, and it freaked them out! They were surrounded by unpredictable waters. However, they were exactly where they were meant to be. It was in that moment, and in that storm that Jesus manifested his power, and taught them how to live by faith and even attempt to walk on water.
I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23
If you’re not freaking out by lack of control, then maybe you haven’t fully surrendered to Christ. Sure we can paddle furiously against the current to avoid danger, we can wear a life jacket to avoid drowning, and sunscreen to fight off a nasty burn, the rest is up to the river.
Some of us will be led down currents of blessing, and prosperity, some will face heart ache and hardship. We don’t get to control these things. We can’t control where God leads us. However we do know our destination! To the House of The Lord Most High!
Psalm 46:4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
Stop trying so hard to control your journey and predict and plan what your future will bring. This is such a waste of time. God says “man makes plans, but God directs his steps” this means, you may really want to float this way, but the water will take you where it wants to go. Learning to let go of what is, and what was, and what will be, will give you a freedom you have never experienced before.
It’s a constant surrender to the current. Luke 22:42 shares Jesus surrender to God. And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus knelt down in desperation before God, asking him to change the current, but he never got out of the boat. He never stopped trusting His Father. It’s exhausting to fight the current, so stop. Let God lead, even if He leads you through storms, and sketchy river bends. He wants to fellowship with you there, strengthen you there, nourish you, and lead you in the way that you should go.
In the end, we will all meet up together; and at the end of this journey I think many of us will wish we could have just relaxed more and enjoyed the journey, instead of fighting to control it and avoid danger. Does it mean more unpredictability, yes! Just think of unpredictability as adventure!!!