From The Manse Window
From the manse window
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!