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FACE YOUR FEARS, DON'T RUN FROM THEM


A few years ago, a canoeing friend of mine and I went to a talk one evening at the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Center. I could hardly wait to hear the couple that was to speak. It was Verlen and Valerie Kruger. They had recently completed a 21,000 mile trip by canoe. I had read about this amazing couple, but did not know until the lecture that they were Christians. They began at the top of Canada, wound their way through that country to the Great Lakes. On down through the United States they paddled until the Mississippi River emptied into the Gulf. They continued down the western side of Florida, and then through the keys and across the ocean to South America. They paddled down the Amazon and then the other rivers heading south, until 33 months, and 16 million canoe strokes later they came out at Cape Horn, the southernmost part of South America. There were times when they paddled for 55 straight hours. They had many adventures and wonderful stories to tell, and I sat spellbound.


They told of the ice that formed on their canoes and bodies during a winter storm on Lake Superior. They told of floods on the Amazon, as well as huge snakes and alligators. But one story stuck in my mind.


They were in South America, and just as they rounded a bend in the river they came across a large flock of black swans. When the birds saw them they went into a complete panic and began to flap their wings while they scooted across the top of the water down the river. The Krugers chased the screaming birds for miles, because the birds were running from them. To their amazement, only a few dared to face them and fly over them, even though they were created to fly. The rest just continued to run and scream.


Valerie said, "I learned something from those swans: You have to face your fears if you are going to get over them. If you run from them, they will chase you your whole life, but if you turn to face them, you will learn that you can fly over them by the grace of God."


We were not meant to run, we were meant to fly, but we will never fly as long as we are running from our fears.


(From a sermon by Rodney Buchanan, From Death to Life, 4/10/2011)

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