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Rafting
by Nate Naversen

The following is a true story:  A few years ago, a group of people were riding on a school bus to go whitewater rafting on the Ocoee river in the Blueridge Mountains of northern Georgia.  On this bus there was a young lady who was visibly nervous about her first whitewater rafting trip.  What danger lay ahead on this journey?  Might one be dashed against the rocks?  Pinned under the rushing water?  Separated from the group?  Surely her mind raced.

But then something happened that was truly amazing.  A young man, who noticed her discomfort began to speak to her:   He said, 'I notice that you are pretty nervous about the trip. Is this correct?"  As she nodded, he then proceeded to lay out all the reasons she had nothing to worry about. 

He said, "I have been rafting on rivers just like this since I was 10 years old.   I've spent countless hours on rivers just like this, and I can tell you from experience that the river is fairly tame.  It's only a class 3 at the most, which isn't too bad."

This did little to comfort the woman, so he added, "But even if anything does happen, and you were to fall into the water:  I want you to know that I'm a 5-time high school district swim champion. I worked as a lifeguard and a competitive swim coach for years. I'll give you this promise: If you do fall in, I will jump in right after you and we'll ride the rapids together.  I care about you more than any friend I have. And what's more, I will be sitting right behind you the entire time, watching over you." 

At this, the woman seemed to relax.  The trip was great, and afterwards she confessed that it was wonderfully re-assuring to know that someone with those credentials was willing to jump in after her. 

The story reminds me of how much our Father in heaven cares for us.   He makes a similar promise in the Bible, where He says this:

"... And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."  1st Corinthians 10:13

That verse speaks specifically of sexual temptation, but I believe it is a wonderful picture of the way God regards us as His children under any circumstance:  That no matter what raging trials of life come, the Father is always right behind us, never giving us more than we can handle.  Like a faithful lifeguard sitting behind you on the raft of life, the Father is always nearby in times of trouble.

Further, the Father was never the absentee landlord who would sit back while we try to handle things on our own.  Instead, He jumped in after us by sending His son to come and rescue is in our distress. Not only did he jump in after us to help us in peril, but he also gave us a wonderful example of how to swim through these turbulent waters of life. 

I hope these words are encouragement to you when life seems overwhelming.  Remember that the Father is right behind you.  Sometimes it's good to have a reminder of just who really has your back.

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