Summary: With an abundance of "guides" to offer us their assistance in every imaginable area of life we need to know what guides are reliable and which are not. We must always weigh the validity of the advice we receive with God’s counsel found in His Word.
How Good Is Your Guide?
My family and I returned this past week from spending two of the most awesome weeks of our lives in the mountains of Colorado. Instead of roasting throughout the day in the Oklahoma heat we wore long sleeved t-shirts. Instead of looking for miles over flat lands, we hiked up and down gorgeous mountain trails. Instead of our normal routines, we did things that were out of the ordinary for us, and we had a blast.
It is always amazing to me how the Lord uses these vacations each year to teach me powerful lessons about my relationship to Him. This year was no different. There were many different lessons that I learned while I was in Colorado, but one of the greatest lessons occurred while we were white water river rafting one day. I need to set the stage for you before I tell you about our river trip because it is what was going on before we ever stepped foot into the raft that makes the story come to life.
Each year that we go on vacation I take along a book and choose one book from God’s Word to read while we are away. This year I took with me John Maxwell’s new book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, and I chose to read the book of Judges from God’s Word. I really had no idea why I felt led to read the book of Judges. I had read it many times in the past, but for some reason I simply felt that I was supposed to read it…so I began the day we arrived.
While reading about leadership in God’s Word and in John Maxwell’s book we signed-up to go river rafting. I don’t know if you’ve ever gone on a raft trip where there are rapids and rocks, but it can cause your adrenaline to kick into high gear at times. It is for that reason that they give you a seasoned, experienced guide to help you maneuver through the treacherous waters and to help you avoid the rocks that will throw you into the icy cold waters if you are not careful. Well, we couldn’t have gotten a better guide. When we got off of the bus and met our guide he was a big, strong man in his early 50’s who had gone on thousands of river trips. He told us that this trip was really enjoyable except for one rapid that was pretty treacherous. He told us that he had only lost two people all summer and that he had gotten them back into the raft safely and they had gone on to finish their trip. He said, “If you get thrown out of the raft this is what we will do to get you back in.” Then he showed us the steps that we would take to get us back in the raft. No sweat.
I have to admit to you that after I had met Mike and heard him speak about his experience on the river, my anxiety level dropped dramatically. I mean with a guide like that you can just sit back and enjoy the ride, right? Well, we got on the river and things went really well. We were talking and splashing water on each other until all of a sudden Mike said, “Okay, we’re coming up to the rapid that I told you about so we all need to paddle.” I put my paddle in the water and did as I was told. When we came to the “Smelter” it just looked like faster running water with a little rise in it. That is, until we came right up on it and I looked over into an abyss. Suddenly we were down in this big hole and a huge wall of water crashed over us. The water shot our raft up out of the water and threw everyone to the back of the raft. I turned around to see if everyone was okay. Connie and Annie were in the back of the raft and then I saw Mike’s legs sticking straight up in the air. Next thing I know our guide, our faithful, experienced, cut out of the mold of Grizzly Adams’ guide is gone. I yelled at the rest of my family that Mike was gone so that we could do what we needed to do to save everyone on board. We started paddling like mad, but they had given us regular sized paddles and they just weren’t doing a whole lot of good against the rapids even though we were paddling for our lives. When I saw that our paddling against the rapids wasn’t getting us any closer to the bank of the river I moved to the back of the raft, into Mike’s captain’s seat, and used my paddle as a rudder. I had the boys paddle on one side while I steered us to the bank. My heart was racing, but I have to admit that I felt like Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of their action thrillers.