Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Your Life - White Water Or Calm Waters?

It's time to live differently. Take a look at this story that illustrates the point perfectly.

My brothers and I had traveled to the western edge of Zimbabwe to raft the Zambezi River. We boarded our raft at the base of Victoria Falls. Massive amounts of water spilled over the top of the giant falls and dropped almost a thousand feet; the roar was deafening. The falls are the largest in the world, more than a mile wide and over three hundred feet high. Mist from the spray that fills the air like fog can be seen for fifty miles; the locals call it "smoke that thunders."

The water from the falls rushes down the gorge in torrents, creating the world's largest rapids. In the United States, the highest-class rapid you are allowed to raft is a Class 5. The Zambezi's white-water rapids can top 7 and 8. Here's what I read later about white-water classes: "Completion of a Class 6 rapid without serious injury or death is widely considered to be a matter of luck or extreme skill." Great.

As I sat on the edge of the eight-person raft, all suited up in a tight, overstuffed life jacket and a thick crash helmet, I felt like an overcautious tourist about to mount an underpowered moped in Honolulu or rent roller-blades on Huntington Beach. The Zambezi couldn't be that dangerous, could it?

But then our guide caused me to begin questioning my logic. His first words were, "When the raft flips..." There was no "If the raft flips," or "On the off chance we get flipped," but "When the raft flips." He went on..."stay in the rough water. You will be tempted to swim toward the stagnant water at the edge of the banks. Don't do it. Because it is in the stagnant water that the crocs wait for you. They are large and hungry. Even when the raft flips, stay in the rough water."

Stagnancy will kill your spirit. The Christian who is not being used by God to change lives, to make a difference for Christ, will dry up, stagnate. Transformation will not happen.

Are you restless? Is your routine boring you mad? Do you sense that you should be doing more with your life than you are today? For most, I am almost certain the answer is yes. The Bible tells us that God put this dissatisfaction with a stagnant life in your heart.

God has a hard time working change in a life that is not going anywhere.

To finish the Zambezi story, the very first rapid we hit violently twisted our raft, folded it in half, and shot it into the air to land upside down. You bet I stayed in the rough water. After we pulled everyone back on board, our faithful guide started heading for the banks with other rafts in our group. "Why are you stopping?" I asked.

"This is the chicken run; we stop here and let the chickens out to run." He was right - eighty dollars was not enough to keep about a dozen tourists from the other rafts in the white water risking their lives.

Many believers sense this restless heart but do nothing about it, usually because of fear. Fear is the cord Satan uses to bind our hands and hearts, keeping us self-justified in spiritual stagnancy.

The missional church of tomorrow will be global in it's purpose and function - not afraid to stop feeding its own church machine in order to change a broken world. Not afraid to get out of the boat to do things locally and globally that make its people uncomfortable.

My brothers and I stayed in the raft that day. Our raft must have flipped four more times. We were tossed like rag dolls and left in the river to battle the crocodiles. But we stayed in the white water. Yes, there were moments when I thought I would die, but I wouldn't trade that Zambezi thrill ride for anything.

The church of tomorrow must resist stagnancy. God needs us out there in the rough waters, pouring our lives into people.

We can't be still - we can't be silent anymore.

The life following after God is so much more exhilarating than many have allowed. Let's become like revolutionaries of the early church. God has an unparalleled adventure waiting for you. There's purpose, there's danger, there's transformation for all who step out.

Live that way. Live in the white water. Live where it's just a little bit uncertain and unsafe. Live where there is something thrilling just might change you forever.


Rita said...

Oh my, I would have been scared to death. You were so brave to endure it to the end. Congrats! If we but stay the course to the end, we will win, but so many bail before that time comes. Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement.

Just Be Real said...

What a great post Kat. I white watered rafted in Canada back in the late 80's. Our guide said, "when the raft flips don't swim but try and keep your knees above water so your back does not hit the rocks below when you float down stream." Rather have the rocks than the crocks. Blessings to you dear one. JBR

Andrea said...


Denise said...

Fantastic post.

from my front porch... said...

I was on the edge of my seat, Kat!
Thanks for the awesome story, and great reminder of staying the course!

xo, misha

NanaNor's said...

Hi, What an incredible story and analogy! You are mighty brave dear friend. You are so right about the church today and what we need. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Noreen

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Hi Kat! It was so good to hear from you through your comment on my post tonight. thanks!

I really needed to hear this story tonight about taking chances and not letting fear keep you stagnant. Last week I found out surprisingly and in a hurtful way that I no longer had a job to go back to. When you get hurt it's easy to stay stagnant and think your safer by not taking new risks. Your story here was just what I needed to remind me that my thinking this was was stinkin thoughts, and not at all what God wants for us.

Thank you Kat!

Lee Ann

Sharon Kirby said...

What an inspiring post! You are so "right on" with your comments. And you made me want to run out the front door, my Bible in hand, and hit the "whitewater" like a warrior!!

Thanks for encouraging me - and by that I mean, putting courage IN me!

We must not be silent anymore!!


David C Brown said...

I'll try to take the message; not sure that a believers should put there life at risk in the white water though!

Just Breathe said...

Well I said yes to your questions!
Wow, what an adventure you had.