It’s amazing the life lessons you learn in challenging places. Here’s one from the Grand Canyon!
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Recently while helping to lead a trip down the Colorado River I had a conversation that still sticks with me. Our first night was pretty tough, to say the least. The winds really whipped up and basically caused us to be “sand blasted” most of the night.
When we got on the river the next day the 4 boatmen apologized profusely for the bad weather and told us that in their 60 plus years of combined experience that our first night was in the top 5 of the worst weather they had ever seen!
The amazing thing is that our group didn’t complain once! This was their first trip down the river and everyone banded together and did what they needed to do to make it through the weather. Many of them told me, “We didn’t know there was anything different, that was normal to us because that’s all we knew!”
I didn’t think about those comments again until the final night on the river. The last night is always a special time where we form a circle and give everyone an opportunity to share how they felt about the trip. I tear up just thinking about the kind words that were shared by everyone.
After we had finished and everyone had gone to bed Tom and I were sitting and chatting with our lead boatman. We’ll call him “Joe”. We were blessed to hear from Joe how much he and the other crew members had been impacted by the way our folks interacted with each other and with the crew. Thank you Jesus!
Tom went off to bed and Joe and I continued talking. I don’t want to betray a confidence so I won’t go into everything that we talked about. Let me put it to you like this though, the comparisons between our life’s experiences was uncanny.
The one thing that I will share was the lack of a father in our lives. I’m 53 and Joe was 51. I at least knew who my father was even though he disappeared after my parents divorced. Joe and I both hurt to this day over the lack of a relationship with our fathers.
Dad’s, don’t take the privilege of being a father for granted!! You are impacting lives for generations and will be held accountable for what you both do and don’t do.
After hearing the similarities in our lives I had to try and share with Joe one more time. I remembered the comments from the first day and attempted to tie back into them. I said,
“Remember the first day on the trip Joe. The weather was crazy and the next day you guys were apologizing to everyone for how bad it was and they were like, “We didn’t know there was anything different, that was normal to us because that’s all we knew!” Well, I think that’s like our lives. What we grew up with was “normal” to us! But the truth of the matter is, it wasn’t “normal”. It was the consequence of living in a fallen world. The only problem is that if that’s all you ever know, you can’t even comprehend there’s another way. A part of my goal in life is to show folks that there is another “normal”. I know you’ve heard it in the past and people have tried to convert you, but Joe, there is another way and I have to share that with people because many don’t know that!”
I explained that was what Tom and I had done over the previous 6 days. We had tried to use the Bible, our new “normal”, to explain the world that we lived in so those that didn’t know there was anything else could know there was another way.
Joe told me, “Carl, boatmen are BS’ers! We see everything down here. We see the guys who are trying to BS us, we see the guys who are just regurgitating something they heard someone else say, and we see people who really believe what they are saying. You really believe it. I love your teaching!”
Joe had sat and listened to almost every session that Tom and I had led during the 7 days. You never know who is watching or listening to you!!
Take this with you, God blesses obedience. The ministry tag line is, Know it! Live it! Share it! when it comes to our faith. I shared the truth to the best of my ability. My life, praise God, was consistent with what I had been teaching, and I shared Christ! We can do no more!
That’s where Romans 12:2 comes in. We need to be transformed into a new “normal”. One that reflects what the Lord Jesus Christ is doing in our lives. Leaving behind the old and pressing forward towards being more like the One who died for us on a cross.
Please pray for Joe, Brittany and Elise. That’s not their real names, but the Lord knows who they are.
Please pray for me and pray for yourself. Pray that the Lord will equip us to live a life that is worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.