Life’s Currents and God’s Oars

It is late at night; I’m sitting with this computer in my lap and am almost asleep. . .

In my mind’s eye it is mid-morning, and I am standing on high ground beside the bank of a flowing river. I gaze at the water, and see different currents coming together, then parting. Turning my head to the left my eyes follow the currents tumbling at a point of land that thrusts itself into the river; some go to the left, others to the right.
Oh! That land jutting out into the river, creating a division point, is new.  The last floods must have created it.

On the bank below me my small boat is pulled up onto a narrow beach, the oars inside. No motor on this boat, baby! When I go out onto this river, I am at the mercy of the currents flowing by. Using my oars, I will be able to guide that little boat to some degree. But the current is always on-flowing . . . and any decision I make, will have thousands of ramifications. As I think about the all the choices, my mind goes numb. Too much! it silently screams at me. Overload! This is more than I can handle.

I do NOT want to go back out on that river! But, I have no choice. The forest and underbrush crowd me where I stand. The only way out of here is heading out into those currents. But which branch should I take at that new Y in the river; the left or the right?. This is an unexpected decision and I hesitate to make it.

However, my time is limited. There are storm clouds on the horizon. If I stay here much longer I will be drenched with rain, which means I’ll be wet and miserable and unable to see clearly through the rain.

So, what do I do???
I’ve been traveling on this river many years
, and it is constantly changing. I know I’m now standing on a plateau that will soon end and I will be going through rapids. Because of the unexpected heavy rains, I don’t know how rough the water will be. If I’m hearing correctly, there is the thunder of water falling somewhere ahead. In the distance what am I seeing?  is that a cloud of vapor from a falls drifting above the trees? Which branch of the river goes to the falls? Oh, Lord! Help my thoughts to have clarity! May I see things as You see them!

I pick up my unwilling feet, and head down to my too small of a rowboat. No answers in my mind, but I must go out onto that river again, praying as I go.

My dream ends before I get to my boat…I realieze  it describes where we are today.

  • The currents of life brought us back from Brasil to Portland. Joe will be 84 in September, and wants to be where he can speak and understand English…
  • We are seriously considering a move to Georgia in the next couple of months, to live with one of my daughters.
    She’s traveled heavy waters as her husband’s life ended from leukemia: she is presently remodeling her home to make it practical for us to move in with her.
    She also loves Brazil and speaks fluent Portuguese.• We are hopefully planning on more time in Brazil later this year, Lord willing.• We are discovering the reality of our bodies’ physical limitations that come from aging. Difficult lessons. Different currents and rapids we had not expected.• We, like you, can hear the roar of the falls ahead, as the US – in fact, the whole world – is going over a cliff.

What are we doing in our small boat on this too rapidly flowing river?

The only thing I know to do today, in these strong life currents, is to keep rowing with the oars He’s provided.
What are these oars?

  1. Walk daily in obedience to the Lord in all the small decisions.

  2. Daily immerse myself in His Word.

  3. Talk to God, asking for wisdom and ability to hear Him.
    Constantly request Him to help me on the path He marked out for me.

    Proverbs 3:5–8 Amplified Bible
    5. Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
      And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
    6. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
      And He will make your paths straight and smooth
      [removing obstacles that block your way].
    7. Do not be wise in your own eyes;
      Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience]
      and turn [entirely] away from evil.
    8. It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves,
      your sinews, your muscles – all your inner parts]
      and refreshment [physical well-being] to your bones.

May He not allow me to open doors He has closed, and when He opens a door and I hesitate, I ask for Him to push me through.

         4. Learn to TRUST HIM MORE.
This is still a daily deliberate choice… to trust.Why in this rolling, turbulent world do I want control over my own life?
I look back over the years and I see where He protected and blessed me, even in the midst of horrendous rapids.  Don’t I trust Him to care for me in the future?

Hebrews 4:14
Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him].

     5. Thank Him!  In and for all things. This helps me forgive and it increases my trust level.

Eph 5:18-20
Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. NIV

1 Thess 5:16-18
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. NIV


Once again I face a choice: to believe Him? Or not believe Him and travel alone.
I think I will ask Him to ride with me and pilot my small boat, thank you!
What about you?  How are you doing on this river of life?

What kind of oars as you using?

  • Voni




A Conversation No One Wants …

We are sitting at our tiny table (where 2 can sit comfortably). The breeze is blowing through our apartment in Natal and we’ve just finished eating lunch. It’s one of those times we will later look back at in wonder, as special and rare.
Neither one of us really wants to leave the table.

Joe sits there with a far-away look in his eyes.

Voni: “What are you thinking about?”

Joe looks at her. “I want to go HOME.”

Voni: “I know you do! You’ve wanted to do so for a long time.”

Joe: “I mean, I want to go HOME, NOW. There is nothing holding me here except for one thing that I would miss. Do you know what that is? YOU.”

Voni (smiling with love) : “Yes. But I also know you’ll be having an incredible time with Melz (Joe’s wonderful first wife!) and Craig (his son who went to be with the Lord many years ago), and your family and friends there, and with the Lord!!!”
“I know the Lord will take you HOME when it’s the right time. But you need to know I’ve asked Him for one thing”

Joe: “What’s that?”

Voni: “That He NOT take you home while we are here in Brazil.”

Joe: “Why is that?”

Voni: “Because it would be so complicated to care for you and make all the arrangements. I want to be where we will have some family close, to help the other one of us.”

Joe grins: “But if I’m gone, none of that will bother me!”

Voni looks at Joe, knowing he expects to go HOME first.
“I know it wouldn’t bother you, but it would certainly bother me.
I’m not up to handling that alone! So NOT while we are here in Brazil, ok?”

Joe, smiling while he stands: “Got it!” and the conversation is over.

Voni sits at the table for a few minutes, thinking, talking to God, hoping that God and Joe and she are in agreement.

Then she, too, leaves the table.