What a joy it was to visit my daughter and her family last week in Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it was very hot. But the times of laughter and just being with them after 5 months of not seeing them was such a delight. As we drove around with the younger boys (ages 8 & 11) in the back seat, they ask their mom, Jodi (my daughter) if we could listen to a couple of comedians who we have always enjoyed listening to. One is Brian Regan. He is one of those who just makes me laugh by looking at him when he is delivering his comedy routine. The boys also love listening to him. So as we drove around trying to find a restaurant that didn’t have an hour and a half wait, we listened and laughed. In fact, we were laughing so hard, we were almost crying. Our stomachs hurt, not from hunger, but from laughing. At dinner on Tues night with the whole family, we began to reminisce about when Caleb was born. We were there celebrating Calebs’ 11th birthday that night and as we began to think back about how we thought the first baby the nurse brought out was Caleb and we were all oohing and crying at how precious he was, only to find out that wasn’t Caleb at all, but someone else’s baby, we began to laugh, thinking back about that day. In fact, when the waiter came over several times, he told us, “every time I come back to your table, ya’ll are laughing hysterically” And we were. It was just one of those special times when everyone was in a joyful mood and everything seemed funny. Laughter is truly good for the soul. My last night there, I told Jodi, if laughter keeps a person from getting sick, I probably won’t be sick for the rest of my life, I had laughed so much. But this story is not complete until I tell about the river trip we made on Friday. It just was a reminder of what God wants from us….our trust.
As we were driving to the river, I began to ask Jodi all sorts of questions. I had never been on this river; much less ever thought about paddle boarding. At 70 years old, my idea of adventure is, well, not standing on a paddle board in the middle of the river, trying to balance so as not to fall off and then not be able to get back on the board. But as we drove, the questions increased. What if I did fall? What if I couldn’t get back up on the board? Would I be able to go the 6 miles that we would be paddling? Were there rapids, and if so how would I go over them without falling? Were there snakes in the river? What if I didn’t paddle well and couldn’t go in the right direction? What if I couldn’t stand up or sit on this board for 2-3 hours? On and on the questions flowed. Jodi kept assuring me that, “mom, I promise you, once you are there you will see that there is no need for you to be concerned.” Well, I could trust her or I could continue to allow the thoughts that kept creeping up in my mind, keep me from enjoying the moment. As soon as we arrived, the lady who was going to bring an extra paddle board, ended up bringing a huge float for me instead of the paddle board. So that took care of so many worries. It would allow me to just float behind them and I didn’t even have to paddle at all. All I had to do was sit back and relax and enjoy the trip. My float was actually tied to Jodi’s paddle board and she would be the one who would navigate us through the river. All I had to do was trust her to get us to the point of where we would end this wonderful trip and trust that she knew when to take us up out of the river. There were several places that had exit signs, but she knew where the car was and where we needed to be.
This is what I thought about this morning as I read Isaiah 41:18-20 “I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. In the deserts they will find pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the dry, parched land. I will plant trees-cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, fir and pine-on barren land. Everyone will see this miracle and understand that it is the Lord, the Holy One of Isreal, who did it.”
This scripture brought back to my mind the beauty of what i saw last week, as I floated for 6 miles down the Salt River. Indeed, all I had to do was trust in the one that was caring for me that day. I didn’t have to worry about any of the concerns that I had had. But just like last Friday, isn’t that what the Lord wants for us every day of our lives? He welcomes our questions. He understands our concerns. BUT…..He wants us to trust Him to be our guide “down this river of life” that sometimes has fast currents, sometimes has “rapids” and rocks which are hard to walk over. No, he doesn’t promise us that we won’t go through these hard times in our lives, but He does promise us that He will be with us and guide us thorough. He is and always will be our Lord, our protector, our Shield. Isa 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Yes, the unknown adventure can cause some worrisome thoughts. Just like the our futures are unknown. But isn’t it wonderful that just like being able to trust my daughter who has been on that Salt River more times that she can count, I can trust her to get me to where I needed to be; AND I can always trust in the God who created me and knows exactly how to guide me to get me to where I need to be…in his plan for His glory.