It was May 1980. Although I had just graduated from the two-year Bible college which I was attending in southeastern Tennessee, I had stayed a few weeks longer to attend a three-week summer Bible institute which was being offered by my denomination. In addition to going to Bible classes all day long, I uh... managed to get engaged as well during that time. We will celebrate our 31st anniversary in August.
Anyway, toward the end of my time there, my soon-to-be husband, greeted me one day with what he thought was rather exciting news. He had just won two whitewater rafting tickets from a local Christian radio station and we were going. Oh... uh... goody! (sigh)
Now I may love adventure on the road but whitewater rafting is not my idea of an adventure. I call it stupidity but that was beside the point. Wanting to be "supportive" and "open" to trying things my husband enjoyed (though he'd never been whitewater rafting), I agreed and silently prayed that all the rain and bad weather we'd been enduring for days would continue and we'd have to cancel.
Wouldn't you know it? The only day that we could go was the only nice day? Sigh...
My husband had difficulty finding the place out there in the middle of nowhere. I was hopeful for awhile. Maybe we would miss the boat. No such luck. Without much help from me, he found the place.
I tried to tell myself that they wouldn't sell tickets if it were dangerous. That worked until they handed me a large helmet and a release form. Nowadays I'd simply say "no" and walk away but at 19, no. I told myself this was just a formality. Surely they would not sell tickets to something dangerous enough to kill you, right? HAH!!!!!!
As I entered the raft, I reminded myself that God said He was always with us so that meant He go into that raft as well. Whew! That did make me feel a bit better.
Truthfully, I had a good time. I really did. I even thought I might want to do this again sometime. Now, lest you think these were tame little rapids, I have to let you know that many years later, these very same rapids were used for during the Olympics which were held in Atlanta. Only at the time I was on them, there had been heavy rains. In fact, just a few days later, the operation was shut down until the water went down after someone was killed while whitewater rafting on that river.
I had a good time... until we went through the very last of the rapids down by the power plant. The first two rafts got through. Ours was not so fortunate. Without warning, our raft was thrown up against the bridge and everyone was thrown out into the churning water.
I remember being sucked down to the bottom of the Ocoee River. I remember being pulled by the current between some rocks and I remember the sickening feeling I had as one of those rocks came dislodged and I realized I was stuck. My life jacket and the current, both of which were trying to push me up, made it nearly impossible to free myself. I'm getting this sick feeling in my stomach just remembering this. I quickly realized I was going to drown.
"Lift up your hands!" The unmistakable command flashed through my mind. My instinct was to keep my hands down and try to move the rock but at that same moment I realized who that command came from. It was God. Would I listen? Would I do what He told me to do. He would save me but if I did not heed his voice, if I continued to do what was natural, I would die. I listened and obeyed. I lifted up my hands.
As I did so, I felt myself pulled by the current and suddenly I felt the rock give way. My ankle was free and I felt something else as I reached up through the dark waters. I touched something and though I couldn't see anything, I knew... I knew it was my husband. I believe there were 10 people in the water that day and yet the person I touched was indeed my husband.
When he felt something against his leg, he later told me he knew it was me. He reached down and pulled me up out of the water where I was safe.
Did I save myself that day? No. It was God who rescued me. I have no doubt about that whatsoever. It was God. However... what would have happened if on that day I would not have obeyed His voice?
The Holy Spirit makes us aware that we are are sinners and without God. We call that conviction. He cries out for us to lift up our hands toward God, to confess our sins so that we might be forgiven and set free from the bondage of sin. How will we respond? Will we lift up our hands, embracing our Savior or will we grab hold of our fetters and attempt to remove them ourselves?
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocketwiley/2562494316/
I'm really into the giving things away... like tickets to go white water rafting - you know, like passing them on to bless someone else. And another thing...if Irish had suggested going whitewater rafting we wouldn't have got to our first anniversary never mind our 31st! You are right though K, reaching out to God is a whole lot more successful than trying to get ourselves out of trouble!
Yea, I am like kbird, if I win any I will be sure and share with others . I tried canoeing once, those skinny things turn over too easy. And stay out of the hammocks too, I will. We got a small river here, "Duck River", and a lot of people have drowned in it, the water does not seem that strong, or that deep, but the undercurrents are what are so dangerous. That 'whitewater' always means 'rocks', looks like to me. .
A good analogy, I can relate about the calling out to God, and being delivered. Good that you listened. God Bless.
[quote]Will we lift up our hands, embracing our Savior or will we grab hold of our fetters and attempt to remove them ourselves?[/quote]
How many times have i done the latter? I could not seem to count them.
Thank you for this, Princess K! :)
Have been reading your blogs and they have been a great help to open my eyes; that i may see what's i need to lay down on the cross.
Enjoy the rest of the week :)