Tuesday, March 9, 2010
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My friend Donna had never been a rafting trip before, until someone gave it to her as a gift; which meant she felt obligated to go. Little did she realize that the river her group would be rafting on goes from being a river of glass at the beginning of your journey, to the sudden violence of Class 3 rapids, at a point that they simply named "Surprise." And ultimately, through the most challenging, most dangerous level of white water there is, Class 5 rapids. Thankfully, there was an outfitter that prepared them for this perilous journey. He coached them as to what to expect on the river, where to sit on the raft, and how to paddle in various situations. He equipped them with a life jacket, a paddle, and a helmet. Donna was not particularly thrilled that her helmet had an unexplained dent in it - she didn't even want to know how it got there! The outfitter had provisions for his crew, including the food and basic medical supplies that they might need. And, best of all, he was with them all the way. They had one wild ride, but they all made it just fine...even Donna.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Everything You Need For the Trip."
The outfitter makes the difference on the river, and in your life. And if you belong to Jesus, you have no one less than the God of the universe as your Outfitter! He knows what's ahead on the river you're navigating. He knows everything you'll need to make it, and He's making sure you have what you need.
His total provision is the theme of this wonderful prayer in Hebrews 13:20-21, our word for today from the Word of God. "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant, brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever."
Isn't that awesome? "Everything good for doing His will." If God can bring Jesus back from the dead; if Jesus, the great Shepherd, is looking after you, is there any need He won't take care of? Any need He can't take care of?
Now you may be stuck on the shore, too scared to get into the raft and go where Jesus wants to take you. You're afraid you won't be able to handle the turbulence ahead. You're afraid to go where you've never gone before. You're afraid to move ahead because you're not sure you'll have what you need. But did Psalm 23:1 suddenly get erased from your Bible? "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want!" The journey ahead, the white water ahead isn't about you and what you can do anyway. It's about your Divine Outfitter, and Navigator, and Provider, and Protector, and Guide. It's not about you doing stuff for God. It's about God doing stuff through you! So what are you waiting for? What are you worrying for? Your job is pretty simple: stay pure and show up. The rest is up to Jesus.
When my friend went through the roughest of rapids, her security wasn't her ability to navigate them. It was all about the man who knows the river, who has navigated that river and piloted people through safely many times. Jesus is committed to do that for you. He's not pushing you off on a raft, standing on the shore shouting, "Good luck!" He's in that raft with you, every mile of the way! He's really just asking you to participate with Him in an exciting ride that ultimately He's going to navigate. And He has promised that He will provide everything you need for the trip!