But now thus says the Lord: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. - Isaiah 43:1-2
Last summer Gayle and I became Mariners. I’m not talking baseball fans. We bought a pair of kayaks with a long, graceful paddle for each of us. We sailed down the Wapsi and the Cedar River and navigated Palo and McBride. Paddling down rain-swollen rivers can be a bit unnerving. The first time you have no idea what’s coming around the next bend. Tree stumps, boulders, sandbars, and swift and rocky currents can surprise you. The power of the river
current can sometimes work with you and sometimes against you. God’s promise through Isaiah that “the rivers … shall not overwhelm you,” is certainly not wasted on us!
Since our announcement last month that Gayle and I will be leaving Lovely Lane this coming July, I think both Lovely Laners and the Wilcoxes have felt like we’re on a river journey together! We don’t know exactly where the next 5 months will take us! The flow of time and powerful currents of mixed feelings make every future twist and turn into a drama of fear and faith.
But I take courage in Isaiah’s promise. Even in the midst of flow and change, there is one unchanging presence. For the kayak, it is its keel—the long, straight central fin that keeps it going, tracking in a straight line. For us, it is our gracious God, who has redeemed us, called us by name, and accompanies us on our journey together these next 5 months and far beyond! There is still significant ministry for us in these remaining weeks and days, and there is One who will bless and keep us tracking straight and true, no matter what may await us around the next bend.
With Love & Deep Gratitude, Pastors Gayle & Paul