Peace, Storms, and the Nile River - by Doug Wekenman
Life is unpredictable. Life is busy. Life is chaotic. Life throws you curveballs. Sometimes the skies are blue and the sun is shining. And sometimes the storms just seem to keep coming. There’s a lot about it you can’t control.
There is, however, peace to be found in the middle of the storm. There is an illogical harmony that surpasses our understanding available to us through Jesus.
A few years ago I learned this lesson while rafting the Nile River with five of my friends.
The Nile River is much bigger and much scarier than it looks on a map, with class 5 rapids that flip your raft and hold you underwater for hours (seconds) at a time. We experienced our fair share of sharp rocks, whirlpools, thunderstorms and 15-foot waterfalls. And it was awesome! I now have a renewed reverence for how massive God must be. If that storm and those rapids were that epic and powerful, then what about the God who tells storms and rapids what to do?
After the first time our raft flipped, my friend Caleb commented, “Hey! This is the same river that baby Moses floated down in a basket.”
Brilliant Caleb, way to go. We’re struggling to stay right side up and a baby did this while taking a nap in a basket. I hoped that little Moses had better luck with not tipping over than we did. I’m sure he did. After all, if God is the Creator of rivers, baskets, and babies, then it probably wasn’t too difficult for Him to get Moses safely to his destination.
But the best part of the day was early in the afternoon when the water slowed and we got a chance to float down the river without fearing for our lives. The light breeze got a little chillier, and the sky got a little darker, and then a lot darker, and then there were flashes of lightning followed by powerful thunderclaps on every side of us. We were in the middle of some natural elements that were not tame. And believe me, when you’re at the mercy of the biggest river in the world, everything else becomes a bit more giant too, including the storms.
Then the heavens opened up, and rain fell. One by one we jumped off the raft and plunged into the still darkness beneath the river’s surface. My life jacket took over and yanked me back to the top for a breath of fresh Ugandan air. As hot steam rose off of the water to meet the chilly storm falling from the sky, the seven of us floated on our backs down the Nile River with a view similar to what Baby Moses must have had from his basket 4,000 years before. Rain hit our faces and the river water kept us warm, and we felt curiously safe in the middle of danger that surrounded us on every side.
It was a good reminder for me because Jesus never promised that He’d keep the storms away. He never promised to make life calm down and ease up when you ask Him to. In fact, quite the opposite is true. He warned us over and over that the storms are coming.
His promise, in my opinion, is far better than calm waters and clear skies.
His promise is to be with us in the middle of the storms, even the tropical ones, when your only hope is an inflatable raft and the paddling abilities of your best friends. But that’s good news, because the safest place to be is right smack in the middle of God’s will, even when that challenges every bit of the logic in your brain. There is a peace that goes beyond our logic. There is harmony found within the Jesus who lives in us. And sometimes it takes a storm and some rapids in order to figure that out.
Be encouraged today that God is with you. Wherever you go. Whatever you do. Whatever storm you face. He’s God over it all. And He’s got you.
Take a look at Doug's adventure on the Nile River in this short video!
After graduating from CU-Boulder in 2010, Doug Wekenman interned for a year with the university's college ministry called The Annex. When that was over he moved to Laguna Beach with a few friends to surf, get tan, and help start a youth ministry. Following that, he spent a year traveling the world to do missions work and produce a full-length documentary (The AC Project) with 3 of his best friends.
When Doug returned to Colorado he became a church planter and helped found Ascent Community Church in Louisville. He now works as a Young Adult's Pastor at Red Rocks Church and loves it!
Doug enjoys football, adrenaline, food, and watching Disney movies with his new wife, Samantha.