What I Learned Taking Canoe Lessons (1)

July 2, 1999
by Ruth McCowan

Exodus 3:11-12 – So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt. But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" (NIV)

For the past four or five years, our family has been involved in the camp programme that our Presbytery offers on Vancouver Island. Each year I go, I have realized that I really need to become more knowledgeable about manoeuvring the canoe in the water. I have increasingly felt uneasy about taking children into the middle of the lake with me in the canoe. This year is the year that I finally did something about it. I took a beginner canoeing course and I now have my R.C.A.B.C. Level 1 Flat Water Canoeing Certificate. But more than that, I now have much more confidence that when I take children out in the canoe, if something does go wrong, I will know what to do!

One of my big fears after signing up for the course was actually not the time that we would be out on the lake in the canoe, but the two-hour session that we were going to have at one of the local pools. The purpose of this session was for us to learn how to fall out of the canoe and how to do rescue manoeuvres. As a very weak swimmer, I was not looking forward to purposely falling out of the canoe, even if it was into the safety of a swimming pool.

As I thought about the act of falling out of the canoe, I reminded myself of what Soren Kierkegaard calls "the leap of faith". Often we are called to do things that we just feel really uncomfortable doing, like Moses felt when God called him to lead his people out of slavery. God often calls us to go beyond our comfort zones and, often, I think, we respond like Moses, "Who am I that I could do that?"

What we have to remember when God calls us to go beyond what we know or out of our comfort zones is that God knows us and what is needed for the task better than we know ourselves, and we will not be doing it alone — God has promised to be with us, and He is!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for those times when you challenge us to do more than we would ever dream possible. Thank you, Lord, that you are always with us. Help us to be more aware of your presence daily. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Ruth McCowan <rbmccowan@shaw.ca>
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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