The college and young professionals went to the Ocoee River in Tennessee to go white water rafting earlier this month. We had a really great time.
It is amazing what lessons can be learned from going on a trip like that. The experience of whitewater rafting is a great metaphor for the experience of the Christian life. Being on the river brings people from different backgrounds and different walks of life all to the same place with the same goal- to get to the end of the course safely. During the trip there were many potential obstacles. Some boats flipped, others drifted away from the group, and some individuals fell from their boats unexpectedly. Each group was given a guide to be in the boat alongside them giving directions and instructions as they travel down the river. Along the way there are moments where team work is absolutely necessary. Rowing together rather than alone helps the boat navigate through difficult waters. There are also opportunities to help one another climb back to the boat when a person falls out or is struggling to find their way back to their raft.
As I am sure you can see, many analogies can be drawn from the adventure of whitewater rafting to the journey of the Christian life. There are billions of people in this world, and each one has an innate desire for eternal life. Sadly, many of these people have chosen the wrong path in trying to achieve this. Also, in the Christian life many who are in “the boat” are going to fall out. Those of us still in the boat must remember the fallen are our Christian brothers and sisters, and it is our job to help them get back in the boat. The Christian family is full of care and love for one another. It is because of this sense of family responsibility that we cannot let the fallen drown and must do our best to pull them into the boat again. The ones that are best equipped to help the fallen are the ones close to them and who are in the same boat.
The guide is the most important person in the boat. This person is constantly giving instructions along the way so that the group can pass through the rapids safely. If we do not want to fall or drift away from the right path we must listen to our guide’s helpful instruction. God is our guide, and he is always in the boat with us to give instruction and encouragement so that we do not fall. He is always there to help us reach the end of the journey safely and join Him in heaven. Our lives are dependent on our guide and our ability to listen and pay attention to His words. Otherwise we will find ourselves drifting through the river that is life without direction. Going rafting with our college and young professionals taught me a lot, but the one thing that I did was pray. I prayed a lot.