South Africa

Life Lessons From A Canoe

Yesterday I did something completely outside my character. I did something that was never on my list of things I want to do before I am 30. I did something many people would say that I am crazy for doing. I went canoeing! For the first time in my entire life. Why is this crazy? Well first I don’t know how to swim. Do you see how this can be a problem? I can float and do a little doggy paddle but that is the extent of my swimming capabilities. Second reason why this is crazy: I am not a water sports, outdoor kind of girl. My idea of an adventure is discovering a new shopping center. Ok, so I am not that vain, but any kind of outdoors activity is not the first thing I jump to do on a Saturday morning. Plus there is this terrible stereotype that Black people don’t do this sort of thing. But there I was on my way to Port Alfred with forty other excited, slightly nervous, women from my church.

My first priority when I arrived: get the biggest life jacket they had to offer! And I did. The guide said that most women do not like to use the one I chose because of fashion reasons. All I wanted to know is would it save my life in the unfortunate event I ended up in the water.

Finally we made our way to the canoes. This is when the panic set in. Slowly at first, but the more I realized what I was about to do the more I wondered why I had agreed to go on this ‘adventure’. But then something else happened. Something unexpected but undeniable happened. A boldness and assuredness washed over me. I had no more doubt that this was God’s will that I chose to come on this trip. It was God’s will that I said yes to this new adventure. Then the Holy Spirit began to minister to me. Yes, God can use even a canoe to speak revelation truth.

I began to realize that this canoe trip is and will be what this leg of my journey will be about. I once thought that I had to be perfect or very close to it in order to do something amazing for God. In fact, some of the things God has instructed me to do in the past I shied away from simply because I thought I was not good enough or I was not ready. I needed more time. More development, more qualifications. But I am learning that God does not call the qualified. Instead He qualifies the called.

Abraham and Sarah were very old when God promised them a child. David was only a little shepherd boy when God called him to be the next King of the Israelites. Mary was a virgin and a young girl when the angel of the Lord told her she would carry the Messiah. Peter denied Christ three times. Paul was a murderer. I cannot swim and am the last person to be caught dead in a canoe. But God still called me. Not only did He call me but He equipped me with everything I would need to do His will.

He provided me with a life jacket in case my boat capsized. Not only that He partnered me with someone who could swim very well and had experience canoeing. So as I go on this Spiritual trip down the river God is leading me down, He will equip me with all the tools necessary to do His will. He will put in place a measure that I can rely on in case I get into some trouble. He will also put people in my path with the experience and expertise I will need to do His will.

When I got into the boat, fear quickly wanted to take this trip with me, but the Holy Spirit quickly shut fear out. Initially the water was very shallow. I could easily hop out of the boat and walk back to shore, but that is not what I signed up for. I did not just say yes with conditions attached, but I said yes wholeheartedly and completely. So my partner and I made our way out into the open water.

As we made our way down the river, the water became deeper and deeper. But the view became even more amazing the further we paddled. I felt the Holy Spirit telling me not to focus on the depth of the water, but to trust in God and to keep my eyes on what is in front of me. I think too often during this journey we become so caught up in how deep the water is getting and our limitations, but God just wants us to trust Him. If He has called you to do something then He has also equipped you to do it. We just need to shift our focus from our shortcomings and the unknown to what God has placed in front of us.

About twenty minutes into our trip, my partner and I were really getting in sync with one another. It is very important that we work as one or the boat would be all over the place and we could possibly end up in the water. So my partner counted to help us keep the rhythm of placing one side of our oars in the water and then the next, while I helped steer the canoe so we would not run into anything or anyone. Again the Holy Spirit was speaking! What an amazing thing when you and God get in sync with one another! What a powerful journey it will be when God’s desires become yours and vice versa! To be in partnership with God what an amazing gift!

As we were making our way down the river, my arms began to grow tired. So I asked my partner if we should take a short rest and let the wind and current carry us. She said that I could rest but she was enjoying rowing and would like to carry on. That reminded me of how God is with us. Many times the journey wears on our spirit and we grow weary, but then God comes and offers to carry us in order for us to regain our strength. I am so glad that my Heavenly Partner never grows tired and is always willing to carry my load!

After about half an hour on the water, we finally made it back to the sandy banks of the river shore. Exhausted and hungry we pulled our canoe onto the banks. I was so proud of my accomplishment. I was so happy that I said Yes to coming on this trip. So many powerful lessons were gained from this experience, but the most important one is when saying Yes to God’s will you must also place all of your trust in Him. You must trust the process He takes you through even if it gets hard or frustrating. You must trust the direction He leads you even if it seems like God doesn’t know the way. You must trust His plan even if it does not agree with yours. You must trust with your whole heart. Trust that God did not make a mistake in choosing you. Trust that God has prepared you for the journey and anything you may lack He will supply in full! Not just enough to make up for what you are missing, but in full! But most importantly, trust and know that God is with you every step or row of the way. He is taking this journey with you. So go on. Do something crazy. Trust God’s plan! Trust God’s will! I promise it will all be worth it.


1 comment on “Life Lessons From A Canoe

  1. R. Williams

    Sarah Fair, I think you are very brave because you got in a cage to swim with the sharks, and jumped off a mountain on a bungee. You have done so many courageous things that many people would think are crazy, like quit your job and move half way around the world to heed the call of God. I applaud you for your adventurous spirit. God reminds us to fear not for He is always with us.
    So, my dear you’ve done more than any of us have or will do in our lifetime. So even through the canoe ride wasn’t on the list you can add it and check it for God always does unexpected things in our

    Love much.


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