To say that our state and local area is beautiful is an understatement. North-Central Idaho has many sights that can take your breath away. Adventurers from many places come to our area for our pristine rivers and the activities that can be enjoyed on and in the water. Just a few miles up the Highway, the Lochsa is a premier destination for rafters and kayakers. Class III and IV rapids, named The Grim Reaper, Ten Pin Alley and Lochsa Falls beckon enthusiasts with thrills and adventurous stories to tell.

While I have not yet rafted on the Lochsa, I have been on another one of our rivers, the Salmon. As you leave the safety of the river shore behind, the rafting guide teaches his paddlers essential maneuvers to navigate the rapids that will be encountered. Some of those directions sound quite counterintuitive. When confronting towering rapids, one must lean forward into the wall of water and paddle hard, especially those in front—or else the raft will flip over. That’s quite different from our natural inclination that screams, duck, hide and just hold on. Although I tried my best to follow the guide’s direction, I lost my balance. I tried to steady myself by instinctively holding on to the rope that rimmed the raft. But what I thought was dependable and steadying gave way and I fell out of the raft and had to be pulled back in by others.

Everyday life is not so different from rafting down a raging river. In the challenges we experience it is just as important to follow the counterintuitive advice of our Guide to lean into the turbulence. James, Jesus’ little brother urges us not only to accept our troubles as learning opportunities, but to be happy in them. Why? James says that when things are rough, our patience has a chance to grow. If we let it grow by leaning into our challenges, we will eventually be ready for anything and strong in character. (James 1:2-4). It is also good to know that when we slip and fall, others in our faith community will pull us up and help us along. The best assurance though comes from our Shepherd-Lord who is with us through every rapid we face!

By Pastor Volkhard Graf

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