While on vacation my son Per and I went canoeing down the Brule River in northern Wisconsin. We started at Stones Bridge and got out at the Winneboujou landing. Along the way there are a number of rapids. Most of them are not that big but all of them have big rocks that one must negotiate.
We’ve gone down the river many a time. When my kids were little and we could hear the rushing water ahead, one of them would squeal, “Yea! Fast water!” The other would get tense and say with some trepidation, “Here comes the fast water.”
I haven’t been down the river in years and never with Per guiding. Now I was the one getting a little tense. I found myself taking a breath and centering myself – letting go to trust that Per could guide us through the rocks.
It brought to mind the definition of faith used in our Markan study this spring – courageous trust, and it made me wonder if experiences like being guided down a river can be a way to practice our faith. After all, isn’t faith about trusting that God will guide us down the river and through the rocks – through life and around obstacles? And sometimes we will hit a rock and get stuck and sometimes we will hit a rock and keep moving and sometimes we will hit a rock and flip over feeling like we’ve lost everything, but God helps us climb back in and keep paddling.
There’s a difference of course, between trusting Per and trusting God, but the taking of a deep breath, letting go, and risking another to guide us sounds a lot like what it means to have faith. And of course, it did help that Per didn’t hit one rock going through the rapids and never came close to tipping the canoe.
How do you practice courageous trust?
- Pastor Dianne