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Faith is like white-water rafting

The life of faith is risky. It looks more like rafting thru Class 4 rapids than sitting in a canoe on a placid lake. The World Race took Brady Denger to Victoria Falls to put this notion to a real-life test. She recounts the story below:We went white water rafting at Victoria Falls in Zambia t…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

The life of faith is risky. It looks more like rafting thru Class 4 rapids than sitting in a canoe on a placid lake.

The World Race took Brady Denger to Victoria Falls to put this notion to a real-life test.

She recounts the story below:

We went white water rafting at Victoria Falls in Zambia this weekend
and I liken my pilgrimage to our experience that day.

Not only has it
been a long dusty road but it’s also been a raging river with huge
rapids. Often I couldn’t see the immensity of the waves until I was
right in the middle of them.

Several times I fell out of the boat (literally and figuratively).
But I’ve realized that’s why I’m not on a pilgrimage alone.

That’s why
God put my teammates and a guide (leaders) in the boat with me. So when
one of us fell out during a particularly rough section of the river,
there would be someone to help pull us back in the boat.

There was one rapid that was particularly treacherous. We knew going in that we had a 75% chance of
capsizing. Our boat flipped up vertically and all of us on the bottom
side fell out.

I tried to hold on to the boat but I was being drug
along through the rapid under water and decided that I might be able to
breathe better if I let go and rode through the rest of the rapid on my

Either way, being out of the boat was terrifying. I never thought
I was drowning but I was thankful for every breath I was able to draw
between the waves.

It took every ounce of my strength and mental
ability to make it through to the end.

When I was finally rescued by
another passing boat, I was exhausted.

It wasn’t the most fun rapid of the day but had it not been for
rapids in the river it would have been a very boring white water
rafting trip. In the same way, even though my pilgrimage (or any part
of life) isn’t always easy and oftentimes it takes every ounce of my
strength to make it through a rough time, what would this journey be
without them?

If I wanted a river with no rapids I would have gone down a calm
river by canoe. Although there’s nothing wrong with canoing down a
peaceful river, I would come out a different person on the other end.
So the question is, who do I want to be when I reach the end of the
river? Do I want to be a white water rafter, always ready for
adventure, capable of making it through difficult times and strong
enough to pull others back in the boat or do I want to be a canoer who
plays it safe, avoids the rough patches, and never gets wet?

Are you canoing? Do you feel called to do a little white-water
rafting? I won’t promise that you’ll stay dry. I won’t promise that you
won’t fall out of the boat. I won’t promise that it will be easy. It’s
tough, but when God is in it, I promise you that you’ll come out
tougher. I promise that when God is in the boat, he will be there to
pull you back in. And when you reach the river’s end, you’ll be able to
look back and thank God for the rapids because they made you who you

it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and
complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:2-4

Take a pilgrimage. Journey in God. Find your identity in Christ. This is the real deal – not just talking about faith, but really living it: www.theworldrace.org.

Comments (5)

  • vickie raulin(clint

    I love the allegory… and find it funny that both times I’ve been white-water rafting, I managed to stay in the boat (well, except for deliberately diving in to swim once)… and the one time I went canoing, I ended up in the river… we probably wouldn’t have gotten dumped if not for me getting scared… we were coming up on a low-water bridge just above a series of rolling rapids… some folks were paddling to the side of the river, taking their canoes out of the water and putting them back in below the falls… and some were hitting the falls head-on, making a bout a five-foot shot straight out and landing upright to keep on going right through the rapids… we were headed for the head-on shot over the falls and at the last minute I got scared and started paddling for shore… and all the while, my husband was shouting at me to keep paddling straight… did I listen… noooooooooooo… and that put us going over the falls sideways… and we still might’ve stayed in the boat but we landed on a rock… teetered there for a few seconds, and then just plopped over sideways… the water was icier than icy… and I had visions in my head of Deliverance and getting dashed to death on the rocks… we’d been instructed to stay with the canoe in case of a spill, but I panicked (again) and started heading for the shoreline, which was a red clay cliff going nearly straight up about 50 feet… I managed to reach the shore some way down the river and climbed to the top of the cliff, covered in so much mud I was unrecognizable… a park ranger picked me up and took me downriver to where my husband was waiting with the boat… lol… it was hilariously funny and wonderful and exhilerating AFTER it was all over with…

    I look at it now with different eyes, tho, after reading your post… and realize that life is like that, too.. sometimes, even when we’re out there canoing, we still end up floundering in white water, and as often as not, it’s because we got scared and took ourselves out from under our Father’s protective umbrella…

    I think Peter and I are related… lol…

  • I got off half dry a few times. I am drenched THIS time, and as far as developing perseverance
    I witnessed to all around me by just “keep on keeping” for the last 15 years… Listening to the World I should have given up a long time ago… those comments don’t help because right now: I just don’t think I can go on anymore Lord… Father God you can see me drifting/backsliding, please give me Wisdom and Guidance and a Vision of your Plan. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (to endure) does not seem enough right now…. In Jesus Mighty name I pray.

  • I found this story great in particular that i had done white water rafting twice and can feel the same experience that has been shared in this story.!!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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