Daily Devotionals

Spiritual Paddling

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Scripture:  “Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – Joshua 1:9 (The Message) 


“If you want to stay in the raft when we go through the rapids, you gotta remember these three things,” our guide explained, except I can only hold onto the third one she said, “Just keep paddling!” 


This summer our family took our first trip out west to Montana, and as a family we ventured on our very first whitewater rafting trip down the Alberton Gorge. Before we even stepped foot on the raft, our guide carefully went through all the do’s and don’ts of rafting as well as all the scenarios of what to do if you fall out of the raft. Before I knew it, my mind began to quickly race, and I’m the one who tried to stand up in the river with my foot lodged between rocks while the water was rising!


Fear. Out of seemingly nowhere, it has me in its grip. 


Fear grabs me tightly when I go without God. Allow me to explain. When I play things out in my mind and I’m filled with fear, it’s almost always because my mind played it out without the hand of God upon me. You may be thinking to yourself that I am some big scaredy-cat and you cannot relate to what I am saying. So before you dismiss me, fear cannot only be deceiving, but also rather subtle. It can be felt as dread. Why do we dread things? Is it because we fear the outcome? It can be described as doubt. Why do we doubt? Is it because we fear God may not come through for us this time around? Fear can be concealed in our worries. Why do we worry? Is it because we are afraid of what may come or what may happen?   


My guide got me thinking in our spiritual life, what does “just keep paddling” look like? In other words, when we go through rough waters, what is spiritual paddling?


  • It is praying handing him everything; no matter how big, no matter how small, no matter how trivial. 
  • It is repenting turning back to God when you tried to go it alone. 
  • It is trusting go ahead, go back over all the times you have handed something over to God, has he not always shown you the way? His track record is solid and true. 
  • And lastly, it is seeking read his Word. Just google “God is with me” verses and your heart will be at peace as you’re reminded of God’s deep, abiding love for you. 10 times out of 10, when you’re filled with fear, it’s because you have forgotten God is with you, literally closer than the air you breathe. Aah. Go ahead and breathe a little easier! 


I wish I could say, now that I have written this and gotten things off my chest, I have ridden fear from my life for good. Oh no, it will rear its ugly head again, and when it does, I will just keep paddling!


Prayer: God, you are our Guide. you uphold us in your righteous right hand. When we remember how much you love us and how you are always with us, there will be very little room for fear. Thank you, God, thank you. We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen. 


Submitted by Julie Hudson