Summary: Everything God does points to God’s love for us though truly God needed to do nothing more than give us the Son. Above all else, that proves God’s love for us. Above all else, it is what we know.
It will be sixteen years ago this summer. Cindy, Wayne, Christopher and I took an adventure of a lifetime as we, along with my nephew and a friend of Wayne’s went tubing down the Guadalupe River. It may not seem like an adventure of a lifetime to you, many people go tubing down many rivers, the Guadalupe and others, every summer. I refer to this as the adventure of a lifetime because I never in my life want to repeat that day again. To call it a difficult experience would give new meaning to the term difficult.
My parents had just moved to Boerne a month or so before we made this trip. We went out because we wanted to see where they were building their new house and to spend some nice relaxing time away from the church and school work, I was in seminary at the time, and also Cindy’s work.
After we got out there my Dad asked what we wanted to do. I told him my biggest aspiration for the week was to sit and float on the river. There are three nice parks in the subdivision where they lived. Two of them are at placed on the river where the water has pooled a bit. When I responded to my dad I meant I wanted to go down to the park and float around there. My Dad, as is often the case, took me to mean something very different.
He told us that he had been told if you put into the river at the bridge were Farm Road 474 crosses the river, it is about a four hour tube ride back to the first of those parks. While it wasn’t my plan, it did sound fun and we thought the boys would like it so we decided we would give it a try. Our plans had been to go down the river, eat lunch and then do it again. It didn’t work out quite that way.
My dad went and bought inner tubes and dropped us off at the bridge about 11:00 in the morning. When 3:00 came around we thought we were almost back which was good, we were all getting pretty hungry. When 4:00 and 5:00 passed we started getting concerned. At 6:00 and 7:00 we were getting pretty angry with my father. Wayne even said, “Dad, when we get back can I hurt Paw Paw?” My response was, “Son, you will have to wait in line.” By 8:00 it was getting dark enough we could no longer see the rocks in the river so we started looking for a place where we could get out and spend the night. We were past angry. My nephew was chilled to the point of shivering. We were all sunburned, some worse than others. Everyone was hungry and thirsty. It was all pretty frightening now.
At the time, my mother particularly, but my father too were sitting there worried and watching and waiting. Their son, their daughter-in-law, all three grandsons, and a kid from Lindale that all they knew about was his first name was Joe, not a common name at all if they had to notify his parents, we were all out there on the river somewhere and seriously overdue.
When we pulled out of the river we sent Wayne and Joe to look for help. As it turned out, if we would have stayed in the water another half hour or so we would have made it to the park, but there was no way for us to know that at the time.
To his credit, my dad did try to get us help. He called the sheriff’s department. They told him he had his information wrong. The trip was at least four hours, BY CANOE. It would be closer to eight hours if the river wasn’t low, but because it was low, it could be ten hours or more by inner-tubes.
Even with all that was bad, I wouldn’t hesitate to say God was with us that day. Several things happened over the course of the day letting us know beyond a doubt God had his hand in this little adventure, but I will save that for another time.
Do you see why I say this was a once in a lifetime experience? I don’t think any of us would have any desire to spend another minute in an inner tube on the Guadalupe River, EVER AGAIN! Well, I shouldn’t say that. I can’t speak for Joe. I have never talked to him about it. But, as for the rest of us, I can tell you, I don’t think any of us will ever repeat the experience again. In fact my Dad sold all those inner tubes shortly after we went home.