Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lenten Art Journal and Devotion - Water Rescue

It may be snowing this morning, but today's word prompt is "water."  In Isaiah 43 I read God's promise -
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.  

This past summer, my husband, 5 year old daughter, and I took our canoe to the Rappahannock River.  We've been out in the canoe together before, but not on this particular stretch of river. Since we grabbed a ride to a drop off point with a service, we were required to watch their safety video.  It was all the standard stuff - wear a life jacket, what to do if you turned over, etc.  Of course they showed people in pretty rough waters to emphasize the need for safety.  Well, Hannah, we didn't realize, had intently watched the video and was pretty nervous.  The stretch of water we went on was pretty rocky and the water was low in a few places, creating rapids over the rocks.  When my husband and I conversed back and forth with, "Can we make it through there?" we meant, "Is this the best path for our canoe?" Hannah's interpretation of that question was, "Will we survive/make it through alive????"  Poor girl. She was scared.  Once we realized her fear, we prayed for God to keep us safe and reassured her that daddy and mama had experience in river canoeing.  We wouldn't let her come to harm and we would all keep safe together.  We tried to look at each run through a rapid like a little adventure ride.  But the fear of the unknown - those images of people dumping into rapidly rushing white water from the video - that was overtaking her thoughts.  As we navigated our way down the river we came to one more section rushing over large rocks and, yep, we dumped.
Hannah did exactly what she was supposed to do. I tried to gain my footing and grabbed onto her as she floated past me.  She grabbed on to me, too.  Except I was facing down and she kept pulling my face in the water.  In a matter of seconds, I felt my body being pushed up and I regained my footing and sat my daughter down on a rock.  My husband saw what was happening and had pushed us both up.  We were drenched, but fine.  We had to spend a few minutes catching and emptying the canoe of water, but we were able to get back in and navigate safely down to the spot where our car was parked.  And you know what? Hannah wasn't scared anymore. The fear of the unknown was gone. She had passed through the waters and the river didn't sweep us away.  Her daddy had saved her.  It was a wonderful lesson and experience.  The unknowns in life are scary, but they don't have to take over our thoughts.  We can rest calmly in the knowledge and promise that our Father will and has saved us.  Earlier in Isaiah, at 43:1, we hear Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  He cares for us personally. He has sent a Savior for his people in Jesus Christ. That day on the river, we were reminded first hand how real and present our God is as we passed through the waters.  Amen.

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