I remember going whitewater rafting with a large group years ago, and we were lucky enough to get the most seasoned raft guide. He’d lived there on the banks of the river for 30 years, skin weathered by the sun, hair to prove it, and he knew every inch of those level 4 rapids. We knew we were in good hands. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
As we loaded in the raft we began asking him about what made the ‘best’ group to guide down the river. Trying to get it right, we guessed ‘physically fit’, thinking physical stamina played a significant role in the success of maneuvering the raft. To our surprise, he said that had little to do with it. We then guessed ‘all male’, maybe for strongest, or ‘all female’, perhaps to lighten the weight of the raft. To every guess he’d reply ‘nope’. Thinking through it some more, we agreed that it must be groups who'd traveled the rapids previously, because then they’d be familiar and could contribute more during the ride. That wasn’t it, either.
He finally answered, “the group that trusts my guidance. I know every twist and turn and can get any group, with any limitation, through it - if they’ll listen. When someone thinks they’ve got to figure it out on their own, they stop listening and start panicking, it’s then we get stuck, rafts start flipping over and people start falling overboard.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I don’t know about you, but I can so relate. I can think of times in my own life when I faced unfamiliar territory, and instead of trusting the guide in my soul, I tried to maneuver it alone. I can think back to seasons of deep struggle where I almost forgot I even had a guide in my soul because I was consumed with hurt, trying to heal on my own. When I think back to those times, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, raft flipped, and felt like I was drowning.
“Be still and know that I’m God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Growing up as a pastor’s daughter, I’d heard this verse my whole life, and honestly didn’t understand the power this held for the longest time. Just like that raft guide, God’s trying to reassure us that we can rest in knowing He’s able to get us through. Like the raft guide knows every inch of the river, God knows every part of the unknown journey we’re on. Every private ache in our heart. Every fear that holds us back. Yes, we have oars in our hands, and yes, we must play a role in moving forward. But we can trust Him to lead us, best.
Experiencing this promise means when difficulty comes - because it will - I can embrace the unknown. My soul can be still, at peace, and trust the One who knows the path ahead.
He doesn’t ask, “Are you capable?”. He asks, “Are you willing?”
In the moments where the waters are the toughest, let’s fight the urge of self-sufficiency or isolation. Let’s not try to figure it out on our own. Let’s quiet our hearts, be still, and say to God, ‘You guide. I’m willing.’⠀⠀