“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” – Psalm 32:8
Training is just around the corner and our new guides will start training with us May 10th. The thrill and anticipation for the summer is rising. We are excited to hit the water and teach our trainees what it looks like to guide a boat. Through training, they learn how to read the river, control their boat, give commands, and talk with their crew. Everything they learn is essential for a safe trip down the river. These skills, as critical as they are for guiding a raft, can teach us some fundamental lessons about our own lives as well. Everything we learn during training can also be applied to different parts of our lives. As our guides learn how to guide guests down the river, they also learn who is guiding their lives.
Why do people come to go rafting with us? Why don’t they just get on the river themselves? They come to a guiding company because they want someone who is experienced and knows the river; they want a guide. The river is pretty consistent, but it does have its dangers. The river can be learned, but it still poses unforeseen obstacles. What if the river represented the course of your life, and the boat is you? We seek out a guide to take us down a simple river, but life isn’t simple. Why do we think we can go through life on our own?
When our guides show up, they see how little they know about the river. I know I thought I was going to nail it quickly, I thought I knew what I was doing, but I didn’t, and I took the longest to get certified my year. I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we have that same naïve approach to life. We believe we have it all together and know what we ought to do, but we don’t. Just like our guides are willing to be taught, we also need to be teachable. The simple truth, we don’t know how to be the guide of our own life, and we need a guide if we are going to get through life safely. Sure, we will still hit rapids along the way and bump into a few rocks here and there, but we have our guide watching over us making sure we are safe and prepared for the trials ahead.
So, who is guiding your life?
Sometimes we end up in the guide seat and let our pride guide us. We “know” everything, and we aren’t teachable. I know I end up in this category far too often. Other times we let others guide our lives and dictate what we ought to be doing. This can sometimes be helpful, but sometimes we let them guide us entirely, and they may give us poor advice and guidance. So, who should be guiding our boat? Who should be the guide of our lives’? It should be God. He is the Creator of life. He sees all things, knows all things, and has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us. How do we let God be our guide? What does that look like?
I think the answer has always been right in front of us. It is shown to us time and time again what following God’s leading looks like. Where can we find this information? You don’t have to look any further than the Bible. Time and time again we see how people like Daniel, Job, David, Noah, the disciples, and even Jesus followed the leading of God by trusting Him. They trusted Him because they knew God had a greater understanding than they did. We won’t follow someone’s directions if we don’t trust them. We need first to trust God to be our guide if we are going to allow Him to be our guide. This is especially important in troubling times. Most of the people I mentioned all had incredibly difficult things happen in their lives. Ultimately, they responded by trusting God and praising Him because they had the understanding He knew what was best.
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” – Job 1:21
When we take guests down the river, we ask them to trust us. We ask them to follow our commands and execute them when we ask. Just like rafting, it’s trusting that God will take us on the best route, it’s trusting that all of God’s directions are to bring us through the rapids, not into more dangers, and it’s trusting that God has our safety as His number one priority. Just like our guests have the option to ignore our commands, we have the option to ignore God. When our guests don’t follow our commands, we end up in situations that are far worse than what they should have been. Won’t the same happen to us if we don’t follow God’s commands? If our guests don’t follow our commands and we end up stuck on a rock or flipped in the river, they think it’s our fault, but they were the ones who disobeyed the order. When life seems to get worse, I think we often blame God first for not “keeping us safe,” but it’s probably that we weren’t listening to God’s command and we disobeyed Him.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
Our guests often follow our commands and trust us because they have the understanding that we know what needs to happen, we see the river with a different perspective than they do. This same kind of recognition is essential if we are going to let God be our guide. We have to relinquish control because God does know best. If we don’t have the understanding that God knows best, then we won’t trust in Him, and we will always get stuck, hit a rock the wrong way, or flip upside-down.
Allowing God to be your guide is understanding He knows best, trusting in Him, and following His commands.
So, who is guiding your boat? Are you guiding it and trying to figure it out, Are you letting others dictate what you should be doing, or are you letting God guide you? Sometimes God speaks through others too, but we should always go back to the Bible and validate it. Sometimes God takes us in a direction that we simply don’t understand, but we need to follow His directions still. God’s ways are always higher than ours, and He always knows more than us. We can trust in Him. We can trust in His ways, His direction, and His commands because He cares about us. He loves us endlessly and wants what is best for us, so trust in Him, especially in the Rapids.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105
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