This past week I was able to join a large group of guys from New Life along with my three boys for a campout and float trip.
We slept in tents Friday night and after a short night of sleep, the boys were up at the crack of dawn, running around and stoking the fire, we ate some breakfast, guzzled some coffee and settled in for our Saturday morning devotional. We were fortunate to be under a dense covering of trees and so even though it rained, we never got too wet.
After several minutes of rain, it cleared up, the sun came out and we loaded in the vans to travel to the starting point for our six-mile float down the river.
All together we had sixteen canoes with two to three people per canoe and a kayak traveling down the river.
The first major obstacle came when my canoeing partner, middle son and I entered a rapids and part of our canoe became stuck on a submerged log…within seconds, we capsized along with the coolers for lunch…and almost immediately, I noticed that my phone was gone.
I yelled out to some guys up ahead and thirty to forty yards down the river they rescued our submerged canoe and would you believe it…floating with it was my phone neatly tucked into two zip lock bags.
Once our entire crew made it to this point, we took off again on our float down the river. After more than a half hour of nature at its best, we began to notice some black clouds rolling in.
Within minutes, it became eerily dark, and without saying a word, everyone knew something was up.
The storm came in with incredible power, the rain gushed so hard that we could barely see ahead of the canoe, trees started to creek and we knew we were on the verge of an emergency.
Without warning a straight-line wind came across the river and blew our canoe over. Fortunately, we safely waded over to solid ground. One by one, canoes pulled into the shore. Everyone was shivering cold…especially the young boys. Several guys shared coats and sweatshirts while we waited out the torrential downpour.
For several minutes, the storm did not let up at all and there were moments when I caught myself wondering if we were in serious danger. I worried that we would be stuck in this place all day without help. I longed for warmth and dry clothes which made our current situation that much more difficult to endure.
After several more minutes, the storm finally let up, we were reunited with everyone, and we paddled as fast as we could to complete the float trip before anything else dangerous happened. As we arrived at our pickup point, the sun came out and shortly thereafter, we finally made it back to camp where we put on dry clothes and talked about the danger we had just survived.
There was a specific moment while huddling with two of my boys in the rain, that I began to doubt if we would ever be warm and dry again. I thought back to other difficult situations I had experienced in my life and remembered that even the direst circumstances of my life eventually ended and conditions improved.
This Sunday, I look forward to sharing from 1 Peter 5:10-11. Peter is writing to encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ who had been suffering. In our verses for Sunday, Peter promises the first century Christians that after they had suffered for a “little while,” God, himself will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish them.
This is good news for anyone…I hope you have a great weekend and I hope to see you Sunday at 9:00 or 10:45 am.