The Deschutes River in Oregon is 173.4 miles long. It runs through rugged forest and deserted desert sometimes cascading with terrific roar, sometimes ambling like some peaceful toddler. It is a great river to fish for steelhead and salmon. On the lower Deschutes people often come to whitewater raft. And for that experience, my son, Stephen and I, joined 17 folks from Southwest Hills Baptist Church.
Seven of us climbed into a large raft and excitedly took our assigned positions. As we looked down the river, Dan, our guide, gave us instructions. He told us how we should paddle, what commands he would give, what we must do to be safe and successfully negotiate the rapids. I must confess I had my misgivings. Four of the boys on our raft were 14 years old and at least two of them were more interested in water fights than listening to Dan’s wise words. I could just see us capsizing amidst rocks and someone getting hurt or drowning because we did not listen properly to Dan’s commands. Recently, two people had died further upstream from accidents. I was glad Jim, Jack and Loren led us in praying for God’s protection.
Hosea 2:18--On that day I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the creatures that crawl on the ground. I will shatter bow, sword, and weapons of war in the land and will enable the people to rest securely.
God is and always has been interested in our safety. When He created the world, He made it to be a safe place. Unfortunately, man’s sin turned the Garden of Eden into the globe of evil. How spectacular it will be when God restores the planet to its pristine state of safety!
Paddling down the Deschutes, Stephen and I learned several safety lessons:
#1. When we obeyed Dan’s vocal commands our raft easily glided through whatever the river threw at us. When we obey God it is much easier to negotiate life. When we do what He asks there is a peace that surpasses understanding.
#2. Disunity equals struggles. If we did not paddle at the same time or if someone was distracted and not paddling, it threw off our rhythm and made us more vulnerable to the current below us. Danger was mitigated by teamwork. How often we fall victim to our enemy Satan, or people opposed to God by our own independence or lack of cooperation!
#3. The Deschutes is full of eddies—circular movements of water counter to the main current. Often in these broad whirlpools we found calmness. I wonder if God hasn’t called us to be eddies. The world races on its broad course to destruction. God calls us to move against the mainstream, obedient to His voice. Out of the current cascading downward there is safety, quiet and hope.
#4. Rocks and/or the channeling of water by the ground form rapids. We could see the dangers ahead by observing the water and by listening to the sound of the river. Our objective was to bypass the rocks. The Bible teaches us to avoid evil. Sin is usually not hard to spot. When we observe or engage in bad behavior or hear wicked speech we must take the appropriate action. Away from the rocks we could swim safely.
#5. The Deschutes is cold! We shivered if we were wet and in the shade. But in the sun we were warm. Life apart from Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is miserable!
#6. Safety is not something to take for granted. To be safe requires vigilance, discipline, a teachable mindset, teamwork and wisdom to understand where danger lies. In the hands of our Father, we are always safe and that is something to think about . . . in reveration!
Safety doesn't happen by accident.—Author Unknown
©2006 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)