Last night we walked down to the river after supper. We don’t live near just any river. A quick 10 minute drive, and we are looking at class IV rapids that draw kayakers and adventure athletes from around the world to play and compete. In fact, one of our people holds the Title 2019 ICF Canoe Freestyle Junior Men World Champion, largely because of the time he spends training in our river.
I tell you this to set the stage for today’s pondering. Last night, the Chattahoochee was just raging. While the kids love to climb the rocks at the island, I love to sit and just experience the water.
If you have ever taken a white water rafting trip here, you get to a spot where the water calms almost to a lake quality. That’s because right in the middle of adventure, we have a protected blue heron nesting area.
As I sat on the rocks, I started noticing that in the middle of the raging section of the river, there were several blue herons just hanging out in the water. It was such a shocking contrast to witness. Long, stick legs were able to support the large, crane-like bird, in a way that they literally seemed oblivious to the ferocious rapids around them. As I watched, I realized that they were able to withstand the chaos because their feet were firmly planted on the rocks.
As I pondered the scene, I wonder how often we find ourselves drowning in chaos because we neglect to plant our feet on the only solid foundation. We are shockingly capable and strong when we put our faith on the only thing that does not move when the waters rage.
I also realized that often, we subject ourselves to unnecessary chaos and danger when we forget that we don’t solely depend on tiny stick legs. At some point it will be wise to simply get away. Sometimes the bird will choose to use its powerful wings, lift off the rock into the air and fly! Sometimes she will head back to the nesting area to rest and recharge. The key is discerning what situations we are called to persevere in (James1:12), which we are called to fly away from (1 Samuel 24), and when it is time to rest and be still with The Lord. Having an ongoing prayer conversation is the only way to have the level of wisdom we will need to truly know how to follow Jesus.
Jesus, show is what our true strengths are, and how to use them. Help us to choose where we position ourselves with wisdom. Help us to know when we are called to endure raging waters, firmly planted on You, and when we are called to fly away. Help us to rest in the nesting area, so we are strong enough for the thrill of the rapids. Help us feel the freedom to fly when that is how you nudge us. Whatever the situation, help us never be overtaken or overwhelmed by the environment. Help us trust that even if our legs appear feeble and too small for the task, that You have designed us exactly the right way to navigate Your purpose in our life. Help us trust Your design with the same innocence of a heron chilling on a rock in the middle of raging waters.