We all travel the River of Life.
God controls the flow, the bends, the swirls and eddies, the calm and the rushing waters. He guides each boat with wisdom and love. Some boats must endure the whitewaters for a time: baggage may be lost overboard; passengers may look up, seeking faith; lives may be lost. Some boats float along in the still waters, enjoying the view, hanging out, or stuck, as it were, for a time before being carried away or steering away. God also provides assorted kinds of boats and oars, depending on the needs of its passenger.
We all bring into our boats varying kinds and amounts of packages. Some have disorganized baggage with odds and ends leaking out; some have neatly stacked and packed boxes.
Some who go through life with messy packages strewn about may never find their oars. They travel downstream uncontrolled, hanging onto their baggage tightly, or sometimes flinging it at others. They continue adrift, hanging onto the gunnels, crying out “Oh, this is happening to me!”
Others with messy boats begin the process of tidying up. They throw overboard those items that weigh them down; they organize their things as best they know how. They may eventually find their oars.
Those with neatly stacked boxes can come into their boats with knowledge of their oars and how to use them. Some of these will use that knowledge and steer their boats accordingly. Some, even with good teaching, will make a mess of their boats and misuse their oars.
What to do with those oars?
Some who find their oars never figure out how to use them. They whack other passersby with them, or splash about aimlessly. They may think oars are for holding out to others, and that others must provide for them.
God may open the eyes of some and bring wisdom and knowledge of the various uses of oars. J-strokes, back sweep, right draw, and using the oar as a rudder all provide methods of proper steering through the disparate waters. Oars may also be used to reach out to others in their boats, to draw alongside or hold onto.
We don’t travel alone down this River of Life. We bump into others, cross paths, join together, jostle, or commune with all those God sets in our ways. Sometimes we don’t get to go where we want to go. Sometimes we are brought into new and exciting channels. Sometimes we are called to come alongside others. We must remember to be gentle and kind, to use our oars to help, guide, and steer clear.
Give some thought to your oars, and what your path will be until you cascade into the great ocean of eternity.