Seeking God Day 6
One year I decided that the best way to spend my families vacation time was in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota on a canoeing, backpacking, fishing, camping trip. I had heard these amazing radio commercials every day about “getting away from it all” and I had visions of all of us leaving our cell phones and x-boxes on the shore and peacefully paddling out into the wilderness for a week of true family bonding. I was surprised by the first question many people asked me, “Have you ever canoed before?” and the second, “Do you camp often?” What surprised me wasn’t the question so much as their look of true concern when I answered, “No.” The follow up question was always, “What makes you think you can do that?” I had never thought about it. It just seemed like the absolute right vacation for us and honestly, I didn’t know any better.
I had complete faith in the outfitter we were using to give us the supplies we needed and in my husband’s ability to navigate our way through the waters. When I think about it now, I too wonder, “What made me think we could do that?” My only answer is that it just seemed like the right thing to do and I felt compelled to go.
On the day that we were to set out into the wilderness, the outfitter drove us with our boats, our backpacks, our maps and our good intentions and brought us to the water’s edge. We unloaded everything, then they gave us a quick instruction of “go that way” while they pointed. They did assure us that they would pick us up 20 miles away at the spot they had circled on our map in 5 days at a certain time. And then they drove away.
We all stood there with our gear on the shoreline and proceeded to do what we had no business doing. All we knew was that the first step was to put the boats in the water, load up the gear and then paddle for the very first time in our lives. And so we did. We only had a map and a compass and the promise that there was something worth while “out there” for us to find.
I’m not sitting on the waters edge today, thankfully we returned home safely. We had been bitten by mosquitos, we were exhausted both physically and mentally but we had survived. We had conquered. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started the journey. I had no concept of just how challenging both physically and mentally that trip was going to be. If I had, I wouldn’t have attempted it. I would have chosen a beach vacation with a cabana boy and fruity umbrella drinks. But I did it in all of my foolishness. I conquered the challenge, I survived. And even better yet, I learned what it meant to be helpless and dependent and how to trust both God and my family, who he had provided.
Helplessness is a strange mix of fragile and strong. Vulnerability requires the risk of foolishness. It requires that you attempt something that you have no business attempting. It requires that you trust God in a way that makes no sense to anyone around you. And yet…
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
There are much more “spiritual” hardships than canoeing for 5 days and 4 nights in the wilderness I think…but maybe not? Depending on God’s strength, learning to trust Him and His provision, it’s a lesson we can learn everyday if we are open to it, if we are seeking God.
I’m not sure I’m can yet say that I “delight” in my weaknesses.
But I’m learning.
Here’s some music that may speak louder than the words I type.