Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pray Amidst the Challenges of Life

"Several years ago we took our children on a canoe trip. My wife, Kathy, sat in the front of the canoe holding our three-year-old daughter. I steered in back while my two sons paddled from the middle. After a stretch of calm water, the currents began to quicken. We were not scared until the canoe in front of us suddenly disappeared. It simply dropped from sight on an open stretch of water. At first, we did not understand. Then as the water began to race past us and we heard the sound of crashing water, we realized ahead-a waterfall!

The currents rushed us toward the drop, and our three-year-old began to cry. But as we approached the drop, we could see that safety lay in a narrow channel that skirted the edge of the waterfall and led through rapids to the lower stream. I shouted, "Paddle, boys, paddle." My wife screamed, "And pray."

We barely made the channel, plunged down the rapids, and made it into the lower stream drenched but upright. Howling with laughter and excitement, the boys yelled, "We made it!" Kathy shouted to the sky, "Thank you, Lord!" We had paddled hard, but we knew, as we watched canoe after canoe behind us tumble down the falls (which were really only about five feet high), that the Lord had carried us through. 

Somehow that episode has become a metaphor of life for our family. Kathy has written of it in her stories and both of us refer to it often when we address church groups. We encourage others to paddle hard through the challenges the Lord places before them, but at the same time we remind everyone and oursleves to pray to the One who carries us forward according to his perfect plan. The currents of life will sweep everyone forward, but there is peace in the knowledge that as we entrust ourselves to God and seek the glory of his Son, he grants us the power to paddle where the streams are most blessed."

-Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name (Bryan Chapell, pgs 189-190).

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