I am drifting in a wooden dory down the Cache la Poudre river, well I’m not sure it is the Poudre, but it sure looks like it. I look around and there are no oars such as a normally outfitted dory might have, I can put my hands or maybe my body in the water to try to guide myself, but to little avail, the current is so swift it just pulls me right along wherever it will and there are rocks, big ones. I begin to see that some rather unpleasant things lie ahead, as I am rocking past a house sized boulder, I remember there is a place on the Poudre (Poudre Falls) where the canyon narrows and there is a fantastic and lethal series of roaring cataracts with a forty or fifty foot drop at the end, I am certain that none but the most experienced kayakers (or the insane) have ever attempted it or survived. Yes, the canyon walls are growing closer together I bid goodbye to the wild rapids of the upper canyon as I look forward to almost certain death, I brace myself. It crosses my mind that perhaps when the river is very narrow that I might jump out of the dory, then a quiet part of my mind says “No, I think you are meant to ride this out” the rest of my mind begins to panic. Somehow I stay put, then I realize that when the river is narrow enough to jump the walls are too steep for even a small handhold. So I must ride it out. The thunder of the falling water shakes me, my very innards are trembling to the rhythm of masses of water crashing to the bottom of the falls. Over I go, I experience a curious pleasure in the moment of falling weightlessness, then wham, I hit hard and hundreds of gallons of water pound my head, then shortly after, it happens again, then about the time I think that I might not be able to take another, the longest drop of all, but somehow beyond all hope after the hard impact and drenching, I am afloat and my fragile boat is OK. I quickly set about bailing for the gunnels are awash, the canyon is still very narrow and I am being swept along at great speed I have made good progress against the water inside and for a moment I can rest. Suddenly I see a boulder as big as a mid-size car rise up before me and I watch in wonder as my little dory slips past without a scratch. I was sure that the current was leading me on a collision course with that boat breaker. So finally I ask the Lord about it, I am so dense that it did not occur to me to ask, until now. The Lord quietly says “Who did you think was piloting your boat? How did you expect to get through the trials and pitfalls of your life without strength and experience at the oars?” then as in the Old Testament when Elisha prayed to open the eyes of his servant, I suddenly saw Him standing in the waist of the dory with the oars in His hands, and even as I watched He negotiated a fresh hazard.
He said, “David, you have never completely understood My love for you. You have had glimpses, flashes of light in the darkness, but you have not come to a solid understanding. It is through the negotiation of these impossible hazards, these trials, that you will begin to see how much I love and care for you. For you see I did not spare you from the cataracts, yet you were safe through it all.”
The memory of the terrible pounding of the water was quite fresh in my mind, so I let doubt sneak in the side door for a second. Then He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” and my doubt ran away screaming.
I may not always know what is ahead for my little boat, I certainly don’t know how to deal with the big problems which lie in my path, and today there are more than ever. But now after this vision, this dream, I remember watching Him as He guided my dory. I can fall back on His presence to bolster me and guide me through the rocks and shoals.

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3 Comments on “Drifting”

  1. Nathan Says:

    I don’t usually make the first comment on my posts, but I have to quickly put in a warning.
    Kids don’t try this at home!!
    Poudre Falls ends in a dead drop (waterfall) it is quite literally lethal and even the rapids leading up to them (the Rocket Launcher, Blind Rapids) are Class V rapids and seriously not for the inexperienced. The dory in this story (really a vision), which was used in olden days to shoot rapids, is symbolic and no one, however insane, should ever attempt Class IV or V stuff in anything less than a kayak.
    Be safe and follow Him.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Wonderful post — it’s true – we come to understand God’s love on a deeper level when we face challenges in life. I’m learning there is much to be gained from our struggles – they’re not fun in the moment, but how we need them to become who God created us to be and who we truly want to be.


  3. Nathan Says:

    Thank you Rachel,
    I have been having some of those challenges recently. I know now that I am not alone through these times, and that they are for a purpose. I am willing to wait out the storm to watch His light break out when it is over.

    Cheers and blessings

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