About 6 months ago my brother and I went canoeing for the first time. I had been canoeing once but it wasn’t anything major because we stayed in one small area and paddled in circles. This time we were on a 5 mile journey on a lake.
We were so excited! I had on my rain boots on and I had packed us a nice lunch so we were all set! We got to the location and got in the canoe. Right when we started we ended up landing on top of a bed of rocks where the water was really shallow. I thought it would be cool to eat lunch then so we did.
We started our journey again and here is when the fun decreased for me! As we are paddling slowly and enjoying the scenery my brother asks, “What’s that?” I look and at a distance it looked like a dragon fly. Dragon fly it was not!
As we got closer we soon realized it was a snake! It was red, yellow, and black! I dread even the look of snakes on T.V. so yes I began to freak out!
I stopped paddling and I started screaming (like that was going to help). I was very frantic and I nearly tipped the canoe over as I leaned the opposite direction from the snake because it was swimming erect towards my end of the boat like he wanted to strike (I was in the front of the boat)!
At this point my back is to the snake because I couldn’t stand to look at it!
Our canoe is still floating but neither one of us were paddling. Seconds later I hear a big splat hit the water. I look and my brother had taken his paddle and smacked the snake down into the water.
It was now out of sight but definitely was not out of mind. The rest of the trip…which was 4 more miles to go (which is forever when you are on the water with only two paddles)…was not fun!
We paddled hard the entire time after that and
every branch or turtle I saw caused me to jump in fear thinking it was another snake!
So here are the lessons I took from this experience:
1. Jesus is our protector
There will be many times in life that will be filled with much joy and excitement (as our lunch was) however, there will also be times when we are faced with challenges and things that provoke fear in us (like the snake).
My big brother (which will represent Jesus for this example) was there with me for each experience. When I needed protection he was right there. He had my back.
Jesus is with us through the ups and the downs and when we need protection. When we are in trouble He has a plan even if we cower away.
2. Ignoring your problems won’t make them go away
As I said in the story, I was so afraid that I turned my back to the snake and was seconds from jumping out of the canoe!
I turned my back hoping that we would quickly glide past it and it would leave us alone. Me turning my back on the snake did NOT stop it from pursuing us.
When you are experiencing spiritual warfare it is NOT the time to turn your back and tuck your tail and run!
The proper way to deal with your problems is head on like my brother did and like Jesus does!
When Jesus confronted a demon or a problem He didn’t look at the presenting issue…He got to the root of it and dealt with it!
Fear can make us do some silly things (like thinking about jumping IN the water where the snake already is). It is important to keep a sane mind while going through and also to keep sane people to hang around in the event that you lose yours momentarily lol.
Thank goodness my brother was thinking in the moment of fear because I surely was not!
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
3. Adversity should propel you to your destiny
After seeing this snake we pressed hard and persistent to get to the end! We didn’t want to pause and look at the scenery like before…no, we wanted out of the water fast!
Some may revert back to their old ways or worse when faced with challenges that really shook them but trials and tribulations are not for you to grow weak and timid. Instead it should strengthen you to press even harder to pursue God’s promises for your life!
Don’t let the enemy cause you to forfeit your dreams…use that as fuel to the fire and press even harder like never before!!
“Not only so, but we, also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)