We had an awesome time on our rafting trip last Saturday! The Rise class here at the Chapel went to Ohiopyle, PA and spent the day on the Youghiogeny River. The Yough, as it is called has three different sections that you can raft on. The Lower, Middle and Upper. We did the Lower section which is intermediate in intensity (class 3/4 rapids). The water level was elevated by several feet over the average height for this time of year. This was great news for us because it increased the speed of the water and intensity of the rapids.

This created a perfect environment for us because we had to really work together and trust one another. We had two rafts of 8 people each plus two guides. Typically the guides go in kayaks but due to the water level state law required that a guide be in each raft. The guide for my group, Thomas was a lot of fun. There are typically two types of guides, those who are like; "better safe than sorry" and those who are more; "that looks treacherous, let's go over there!" He was definitely the latter! Although, he did take all the necessary precautions. 

At the very end of our run there was a large rock that was in the middle of the river. We tried to maneuver to the right side but the current pushed us directly into it. This isn't a big deal, it's a part of rafting, however we got stuck up against the side of this one. If you've ever been white water rafting you know that this situation can be potentially dangerous. the force of the river kept us from simply pushing off of the rock even though we tried. The guide even jumped out onto the rock and pushed against our raft but it wasn't budging. The upstream side of the raft started filling with water, which means the whole raft is about to flip over, emptying its contents (us) into the river. At this point the other group passed by us in their raft and their guide said to them; "hey look, your friends are about to get wet." Our guide shouted to us; "everyone move to this corner now!" So we all piled into the back corner of the raft as quickly as possible. Shifting the weight like that allowed us to push away from the rock and head downstream again. We all cheered as we quickly got back into our positions and started rowing again.  

After the excitement subsided, Thomas, our guide said; "you guys did awesome!! you stayed calm and did exactly what I told you to do without hesitating" He continued; "three more seconds and we would all be swimming right now." That was really encouraging to us. Afterwards, we talked about it. Someone in the group made the observation that faith is a lot like that. Sometimes life feels like that being pinned against that rock with water pounding against you, it's; powerful, treacherous, and relentless. Decisions have to be made, sometimes quickly with lasting consequences. Thankfully, we have a trustworthy voice to listen to to keep us from being shipwrecked. Jesus Christ is that voice in the midst of potential disaster telling our hearts; "Peace, be still". Without that, panic would overtake our lives and we would make poor decisions. Yes, sometimes we will feel overwhelmed by our circumstances but it is precisely in these moments that we must remind ourselves of what is true. Whenever the challenges of life are too great for us we must not give in to the pressure we must trust, obey and anticipate resurrection. Faith is not just something to be learned but to be practiced when it matters most. All in all we had a fantastic trip! 

-Pastor Josh