Have you ever started a journey not knowing where you were going? As I ponder this question I see myself jumping into a raft with a paddle. Suddenly I’m swept away by the tea rapids of my imagination. I'm in a river amber in color, it turns red then dark brown, it reminds me of the rooibos tea I love so much. I am carried over the bumps and movement of the rapids. Splashed, as I fiercly paddle my way safely through the rough current. The splashes of tea hit my face dripping down to my mouth. I can taste the sweetness of the tea and other times the bitterness. My nose accompanies me on this adventure as it takes in the aroma of strength and boldness. When I jumped into the raft I didn’t know the journey would be so treacherous. I imagined a smooth ride, taking in the scenery around me. Little did I know the bumpy ride would demand my full attention, not a leisure trip for me. Imagining this tea rapid adventure led me to wonder what was going through Abraham's mind when God told him to, "Leave your country, your family and your father’s home for a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1 MSG (italics added for emphasis). Abraham, took off with his nephew, wife and all that belonged to him. He started walking and kept walking, not knowing where his new home would be, not knowing where he would end up. He had only a promise and that promise was his guide post. The promise that he would be a great nation, would be famous and that families would be blessed through him was probably never a thought in his childhood dreams. This great promise, received, was not completely understood, nor was the cost of that promise known. Abraham received the promise and the action to partner with it was to move. When he began his travels, he went without a map, by faith, waiting to be shown the destiny promise. God directed him to go to a land he did not know yet and God, Himself revealed the way. Like Abraham, I feel I am being led into a new land. A land that God has told me to start traveling to but hasn’t quite revealed the destination. With each step the territory seems to expand. The narrow path widens to a panoramic view as I take the land I have been given. I am challenged in the truth that following our path and allowing God to guide us, one step at a time, will lead us to our destiny, our landing spot of purpose. I muster courage for each step. I understand that gently gliding through calm waters, isn’t always the plan. The bumps along the way and the current striving to cast us into the rocks, threaten to overturn our raft. Remaining alert is key and determination vital to avoid a premature, mid-stream, interruption in the journey. Similar to the Ark bearers, when they had to take the first step into the Jordan, so it is with us. Sometimes the circumstances look impossible, frightening and overwhelming but, blindly, by faith, we step out anyway. Why? Because we have the one Guide who has promised to lead us into blessing, honor, favor and destiny. We take one more step because with each one we see the impossible happening. The rapids begin to smooth out and never imagined doors begin to open. They swing wider and wider into freedom, into a clear vision of who we are and what we were created to be.
I remember practicing hour after hour in my moms dance studio to improve my triple pirouette. Before I knew it I was doing multiple pirouettes; four, five, six. I worked hard on my spot. I balanced my weight just perfect and tucked in everything I could to elongate my posture. Pulled up and determined I accomplished my goal. I learned that whenever we want something bad enough we will dedicate whatever it takes to accomplish it. It is that way with overcoming the rapids in our lives. The rough currents in our walk with God will try to crash us into the rocks of life. The current is wild, out of control, but it has a purpose and an end of the road. The end of the road is one last final crash into smooth waters that will bring the raft into a drifting calm place of rest, landing us on the shore of our destination. God has assured us He will bring us into our perfect place of rest in Him. He promises the rough journey to get there will polish us, to reflect His faithfulness, love and care. To travel down the path of destiny I feel we have to be like the pioneers, those who were willing to go into uncharted territory. Those willing to get their hands dirty and develop callouses, those willing to till the soil and harvest the crop, those willing to cut the timber and build their cabin, those willing to take risks when their lives depended on it. Each step we take in life is into something unknown and chancy but each risk is worth it. The adventure is worth it and even capsizing occasionally is worth it too.
Who you are and what you are meant to fulfill is too important to avoid jumping in the raft. The rough waters will define who you are and where you will land. The challenge to stay on course and not jump off the raft will be tempting at times, but, sooner or later, if you do jump off, the raft will present itself again until you make it the full way down the rapid. It is inevitable, we can not skip the lessons needed on the journey, they must happen to make us stronger and wiser. Imagine being on the raft, arms wide out, knowing that God is guiding you and He has you, right where He wants you. That is where we want to be, completely reliant on Him.
What are the rapids in your life? Are you on one now or are you in the calm waters? Wherever you are on your path to destiny remember this one thing today. If you fall, sink or stay on the boat, the journey isn't over until you land where you are meant to be. How soon you get there is up to you and if you've lost your paddle along the way, reach out to a friend for a new one.