I spent a couple of hours in a kayak on the Saint Joseph River yesterday morning. For me, that is a great way to get away from everything and spend time alone with God relaxing and listening. There is something special about the peace and quiet on the water that brings a clarity to my mind.
While I hadn’t been in the kayak since last fall, my typical routine is to put into the river in South Bend, paddle upstream to Mishawaka, then float/paddle back. It is about a 5 mile round trip and the total time depends on how much I paddle and how much I just float and enjoy the beauty of creation. On this particular trip, I kept up a pretty steady paddle on the upstream route and on the return I only put the paddle in the water when the river widened out and I lost the main current pulling me downstream. Did I mention that I hadn’t been in the kayak since last fall? 🙂
Throughout the trip I am looking for bridges because they help me to know an approximate position in relation to the entire trip. Two of the bridges serve as reminders that I’m “almost there”. The first is the Beutter Park footbridge in Mishawaka. When it comes into view I know that the Main Street bridge is just around the bend and my paddling against the current is just about done for the day. By this point, my arms and shoulders definitely feel the workout and the bridge is a reminder to keep going, it’s not much further. It is usually through this stretch of river that the current seems strongest and the encouragement to keep at it is needed most. Knowing that a time of rest is coming keeps me focused on striving toward the goal that will very soon come into view. Passing under this bridge is cause for a celebration of sorts — I made it this far, I can make it to the end.
The second bridge that reminds me I’m almost there is the IUSB footbridge in South Bend. This bridge serves as a reminder that the end of today’s journey is just around the corner. Interestingly, this is a section that often has very little visible current to draw me downstream and it seems most days there is a headwind that comes across the water that makes sitting back and floating to the finish rather impractical. But knowing that my destination is just around the corner makes it easier to put the paddle back into the water and finish strong. It is often a bittersweet moment — it is exciting to have accomplished what I set out to do and finish the course that was laid before me but it has been such a joy that I’m not always ready to leave. But leave I must, so I celebrate as I pass under this bridge knowing that my journey was a success and the victory of completion is in sight!
I hope you can see there is more to this story than simply a recreational kayak trip on a river. Are you keeping the proper goals in sight so that you persevere in your journey of life? Do you hold on to the command and promise of Jesus to take heart, even in troubles that are sure to come, because He has overcome the world? Are your eyes fixed heavenward on the prize that was purchased for you by the blood of Jesus Christ — the prize that reminds you to finish strong?
I pray that you spend time alone with God today and allow Him to remind you to keep going, you’re almost there!