A group of my fun loving buddies had decided to go white-water rafting in West Virginia in the very cold month of April. We picked up a biker friend on the way as we traveled near the state of Pennsylvania. Wild Bill looks like a road outlaw but has the soft heart of a gentle child. His favorite topics were politics, women, the Bible and health foods.
We rafted two of West Virginia’s great rivers that rainy weekend. We floated the New and Gauley rivers. The young river guide was very clear in his paddle instructions. He made sure that it was clear that we knew all the different commands. He would yell, “paddle front right” and the right side would kick into gear on the forward paddle strokes. Each instruction from his mouth was our heart’s desire to accomplish. The instruction that Wild Bill had trouble with was “Stop!” The old biker was not good at leaving his destiny in the hands of the fuzzy faced river guide. Instead he kept on paddling with all his might. He had control.
One terrifying section on the river our white water escort had taken the time to describe the perils of the next section of rushing water. We carefully approached the roaring rapids from the exact angle our fearless guide had been positioning us to enter. We paddled into the mouth of the thundering class five rapids. Then the skillful young river guide yelled “STOP!” at his wet-suit clad warriors. But the Wild One continued to paddle with all his might and strength. William the paddler turned our raft sideways in the very place that our young river chieftain did not want to turn sideways. Wild Bill's failure to stop created a very exciting moment; a few swimmers later; an exciting rescue and interesting ride through life endangering waters. Bill’s extra stokes had a lot of wild out-comes.
All was well at the end of the class five swim, no one was lost. Yet, our young leader had been tested beyond his level of endurance. The kid yelled at Bill to put down his paddle and sit by him. Wild Bill, our tattooed Biker buddy was placed in the humble position of watching his friends oar down the river.
Sometimes we refuse to listen to God and we take control of the paddling. The result is always very destructive. God takes away our paddle and places us in a divine time-out. Well, after a few rapids down the river Bill received his paddle back and returned to the team. Sometimes God must disciple us to get us to peacefully navigate the dangers of this life. Listen to your Holy guide.