Summary: Thoughts after having gone on a whitewater rafting trip with teens group.

Paddle thru the Rapids

“So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.” 1 Peter 1:6 NLT

Intro: We all have opportunities to get upset. We have temptations that we are faced with. We have stresses that come to us in life. There are storms that happen in everyone’s life. No matter how good of a person you are you are going to have these kinds of struggles. You are going to have these tests and trials. You cannot pray the difficulties away. Sometimes we try to use our faith to control the circumstances but instead it is better to use your faith to control yourself when you are in a difficult time. I have learned that if I can just stay calm. If I can just stay steady in the middle of a problem. If I can stay the course. I have learned that if I can just stay committed to going forward that is what allows God to change the things around me.

When Robinson Crusoe was ship wrecked on a deserted island, he made what he called a list. One of the evil things on the island. The other of the good things. On the evil side he was a castaway all alone. On the good side he was alive. On the evil side he was far from all humankind and far from all human society, but on the good side he was not starving. He had no change of clothes, but one the good side he was in a warm tropical area where he didn't need clothes. On the evil side he was without defense, but on the good side he had not ran into any animals like he had seen on the coast of Africa. On the evil side there was no one to speak to, but the good side the tide had brought his sunken ship close enough to the shore he could get things he needed. So he concluded that he was in one of the most miserable situations he could possibly be in but there were still positive things for him to find. What about you? Do you see the things in life to be thankful for?

The Apostle Peter wrote these words to encourage people who were going through difficult times. “So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.” 1 Peter 1:6 NLT Maybe you are dealing with an illness in your family. Maybe you are struggling financially. Maybe you are going through a difficult time emotionally or even going through a hard time spiritually. Maybe you are just not sure of anything good in your life. Whatever you're dealing with know that the scripture has promised “There is wonderful joy ahead.”

Today we are going to talk about “Paddling thru the Rapids.” This past week I went whitewater rafting with our church teens. I had never been whitewater rafting before. It looked like fun but it also looked like there was a lot of danger. The guide instructed us: “When I say paddle, you should paddle. If you do not paddle you could be propelled out of the boat. If you fall out of the boat and I say swim to the left you should swim to the left. If you do not swim to the left you could become trapped under a rock and die.” I was very fortunate to be on the boat with one of our teens Katelyn. Katelyn is a life guard. I told her if I fall out of the boat and I am in trouble, “Please be a hero, jump in and save me.”

We live in a very troubled. We live in an unbelieving world of struggles and temptations. It is when you join others at church that you are surrounded by a living hope in Jesus Christ. We look forward to encouragement, support, and when necessary even the rescue from someone around us. That is the living hope found in Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and is alive and also the living hope found in being part of a loving church, among the people of God.

“If you HAVE troubles, I want you to come and talk to me about them.

If you DON’T any troubles, come tell me how you do it!”

There are a few comparisons that I want to make today that are true to life about whitewater rafting. First you can’t ignore the rapids. Once you are out there on the boat there is no turning back. You have to paddle thru. There are different levels and classifications of rapids. LEVEL 1 and 2 are moving water with just a few little white ripples. It is relaxing. It is like a lazy river. You are just floating along. They allowed us to get out of the boat and swim down thru those rapids. LEVEL 3. Things began to changes. Narrow passages that send the boat tossing from side to side. Waves of water gushing in over the sides of the boat. Plenty of excitement. LEVEL 4. Rapids are more difficult rapids, they last longer, turbulent water that requires coordinated paddling and sends the heart racing. LEVEL 5 Large, long, more complex, gushing rapids, twisting, turning, spinning in every direction to deliver the adrenaline rush.

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