ronniemcbrayer300 maroonKENTUCKY (4/28/13) - When I was a bit younger and a bit braver, a group of friends and I shot the rapids on the Ocoee River in southeast Tennessee. The Ocoee, which I think is the Cherokee word for “terrified rafter” is a world class whitewater adventure.

Now, I’m no world class athlete, and that became evident on the river. I so feared being sucked out of the boat that I literally dug my toenails into the rubber raft I was paddling. But by the time we finished, I was on a first name basis with rapids named Broken Nose, Table Saw, and Diamond Splitter – and it was an incomparable thrill.

Whitewater sports began quite accidentally on this river. The Ocoee is dammed to produce electricity. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has operated their dams for years, and for the longest time, TVA’s production of electricity killed the river. Only a trickle of water, no more than ankle deep in places, flowed through the gorge.

But in the late 1970s a portion of one of their dams broke, sending the full force of the Ocoee through the canyon for the first time in decades. Whitewater outfitters and kayakers jumped all over the opportunity, setting up impromptu river tours. After the dam was repaired, legislators were wise enough to pass laws to protect the recreation that had developed on the river. So, for 112 days a year the Ocoee River is “turned on” for kayaking and rafting enthusiasts.

On the morning I arrived at the river there was nothing but rocks. “How are we going to shoot the rapids when I can rock-jump across the river and never get wet?” I asked my guide. Speaking like a cross between Jedi-Master Yoda and some drug-empowered oracle he said, “Sweat it not, dude. The water is coming.”

He was right. The water was coming. Thirty miles upstream the water had been released. It took a little while to get there, but as I watched, the babbling stream turned into a torrent of whitewater, and the adventure was afoot. The power of those rapids was incredible. I couldn’t dictate to the river with my little paddle and rubber dinghy any more than I could turn on or off the dam’s floodgates.

There was no control over the water; I had to go where it pushed me. Sure, at times I could steer, paddle or even stop, hiding behind a huge rock; but when released over the rapids all I could do was scream, flay at the water, and pray. The power of the water had been unleashed, and we were just along for the ride.

Living out the life of faith is a lot like that. We have our raft, paddle, and are in this boat with our friends on the same journey. What began as a dribble is now an unstoppable flood. We are paddling along best we can, moved by the unleashed Spirit of God.

And sometimes we are more than moved. Sometimes life and faith are not placid escapades of reflection and peace. Instead, the journey of faith becomes a bone-jarring exercise in survival, crashing over the rocks and through the rapids, threatening to drown us. We are often jostled from the security of our raft, forced to scream out of desperation for a rope or lifeline of rescue. We struggle and fight just to keep our noses above the water line.

We may get the relieved opportunity to list in quiet pools, catching our breath and resting our muscles from time to time. But then, the water will pick up and we are on our way again. Sure, there are things we can and should do along the way: Pray, hang on, watch out for our friends, and paddle like our hair is on fire. But ultimately we are riding the wave of God as he does his good will and purpose. His power has been turned on in our lives, and all we have to do is hang on and let it take us where it will.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
1 DOW 17,826.30
-279.47 (-1.54%)    
2 S&P 2,081.18
-23.81 (-1.13%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,931.81
-75.98 (-1.52%)    
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 13, 2015 6219

Three Juveniles, Adult Accused of Vandalizing…

by Deputy Will Coursey
April 17, 2015 6069

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 14, 2015 5087

Several Juveniles Charged in Connection with Fight

by SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 4336

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 16, 2015 3403

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 16,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers

Most Read This Month

April 02, 2015 8477

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 27, 2015 6699

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Now

April 17, 2015 6069

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 18, 2015 4336

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 18, 2015 1032

MPD Offers Advice On Prom, Underage Drinking

by Lt. Billy Poe
April 18, 2015 798

Market Commentary - April 18, 2015

by Randall L. Franklin
April 19, 2015 586

ATV Ride, Cookout Raises Funds for Shanice Bean…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 532

Home, Garden Show Concludes Today at Ballard…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 488

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 473

Keeping the Faith - 'God Smiles'

by Ronnie McBrayer
April 18, 2015 454

TVA's Regional Energy Resource Council to Meet in…

by Tennessee Valley Authority
April 18, 2015 437

Hooked on Science - Skewer a Balloon

by Jason Lindsey