From The Manse Win­dow

From the manse win­dow

The People's Friend - - Contents - By Jan­ice Ross.

RECENTLY, while clear­ing through some pa­per­work, I came across a cer­tifi­cate my daugh­ter had been given for white-wa­ter raft­ing.

It read, The Zam­bezi River in the gorge be­low the Vic­to­ria Falls is of­fi­cially de­fined by the Bri­tish Ca­noe Union as ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, with long and vi­o­lent rapids, steep gra­di­ents, big drops and pres­sure ar­eas.

I had been un­aware that my daugh­ter had this ac­tiv­ity in mind when she went to visit her friend in Zim­babwe.

Per­haps at the time I imag­ined she might visit a game park from the safety of a ve­hi­cle, per­haps even take a sa­fari to a wa­ter hole, but white-wa­ter raft­ing, and, what was even more fright­en­ing, a Fly­ing Fox launch 410 feet above the gorge? I hadn’t re­alised th­ese were on the agenda!

Be­ing of un­ad­ven­tur­ous spirit, I’m amazed peo­ple want to do such things, and are will­ing to pay money to do it.

Many love the chal­lenge of pit­ting them­selves against the odds, of over­com­ing fear and of push­ing them­selves to the limit. And it’s not only the young who en­joy the thrill of the new and un­con­quered.

My brother, who is well over fifty, ac­com­pa­nied by two of his fam­ily, has just re­turned from a hik­ing trip in Nepal to Ever­est base camp. Ad­ven­ture must run in the fam­ily.

“Why would you want to slog one thou­sand feet up­hill in a day, to then come down seven hun­dred feet so that you don’t need to be air­lifted off the moun­tain­side by heli­copter with alti­tude sick­ness?” I asked him.

Of course, ob­serv­ing the grandeur of Ever­est tow­er­ing above him must have been an awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence. Over­com­ing alti­tude sick­ness, headaches, ex­haus­tion, aching limbs and be­ing soaked was ap­par­ently worth it.

Many chal­lenges come our way which we wouldn’t choose – life-chang­ing events which her­ald a new sea­son.

This might be the loss of a job, an ill­ness or the break-up of a fam­ily re­la­tion­ship. Some of th­ese come out of the blue, giv­ing us no time to pre­pare.

Courage and per­se­ver­ance are needed for events of this kind and it is hum­bling to see peo­ple rise to th­ese chal­lenges with unimag­in­able un­selfish­ness, many tes­ti­fy­ing to a strength they didn’t know they had.

Je­sus was no stranger to chal­lenges. For God to take on frail hu­man flesh and to live among us in a world of dark­ness and sin is a sac­ri­fice we will never fully grasp.

Where did Je­sus find the pa­tience to deal with the mis­un­der­stand­ings of his own peo­ple? Where did he find the stamina to deal with the needs of crowds day by day?

Where did he find the love to bless those who cursed him and sought to kill him? Cer­tainly not within him­self.

For Je­sus it wasn’t a case of mus­ter­ing up all his courage, it wasn’t a case of search­ing within, but of reach­ing out to a lov­ing heav­enly fa­ther whom he knew to be the source of all strength and power.

While some peo­ple have an abil­ity to rise to chal­lenges of one sort or an­other, there is a need within each hu­man heart to know that the source of life in all its full­ness and peace that passes un­der­stand­ing lie within a re­la­tion­ship with our cre­ator, God.

Next week: the Rev. Su­san Sara­puk needs new glasses!

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