by Erin Thiele
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you.”
Imagine you’re way up in the clouds, and you look down at the picture of your life, just like it was a map.
Look at the beginning, it’s the day you were born and this is the beginning of the “river” of your life. Watch how your canoe travels along with all its twists and turns and bends as you travel along all the years of your life.
There you are, row, row, rowing happily along.
Now, look at the end of the river. Do you see where the river ends? The day it reaches the sea? That’s the best day of your life, the day when your Savior comes to take you to heaven.
Now take a closer look. Look to see if you can see a very small part near the beginning, where the water is running very fast. It twists and turns and has lots of rocks.
These are your teen years, beginning with your tweens.
In your life, there will be only a dozen years, about 12 years, of “rapids.” A lot of teens and twenty-year-olds like to “run” the rapids. They think it’s fun. They don’t think about the dangers.
But is that Wise?
God says when you honor your mother and father you will be blessed with a long life.
“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
Many grandparents live to be 80 years old or more, so if you subtract 10 or even 20 years 80 – 10 = 70 80 – 20 = 60 that's a very long time, right?
Can you imagine having to use a canoe with holes and a broken 60 or 70 long years?! Do you really want to travel in a canoe with holes? Do you want to paddle with a broken oar? Of course not! That’s not wise, it’s foolish. Foolishness that you’ll suffer through for the rest of your life!
But guess what?
If you build your life on what GOD says, you can make it through the rapids, the very few years of your teens, without any harm to your canoe! This means it will be smooth sailing for the rest of your life! Sounds wiser, right?
Think of it this way:
We all begin life with our parents guiding our small and very fragile canoe. The water is shallow and slow-moving. So our parents lovingly guide us, teaching us, and training us. “Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old, he will stay on course.” Then, very soon, we are able to guide our own canoe safely down the river of life, almost by ourselves.
Oh, no! In today’s world, most children try to take control of their canoe too soon! They foolishly believe that they are being controlled by their parents telling them what to do. They listen to friends and even their teachers to guide them in their canoe— they foolishly believe everyone else knows “better” than their parents. Foolishly thinking that their parents don’t know or understand.
Watch out!! Very soon you begin to pick up speed and your canoe and life will be out of control! Once you’re running the rapids when you are not prepared because it’s far too early to do it on your own!
Crash!! One day your canoe hits a sharp rock, your canoe flips over and you almost drown. Thankfully your parents are there to rescue you.
Sadly, you’ve broken your only oar, and there is a long tear in your canoe that your parents help repair for you.
True, you didn’t drown. Yes, your canoe got patched, but a few years later that patch begins to leak.
Worse, your oar is broken. So for 50 or 60 years, your mended oar will prevent you from properly steering you away from rocks or the shoreline or under low-lying tree limbs.
Almost every day there will be more and more damage to your canoe.
You try everything to stop the fear, the pain, but you feel it.
Years of using a canoe that has flipped over many times and has hit many rocks and has run into the shore have caused so much more damage. Damage due to running the rapids of the river of life too soon and without your parents guiding you.
When the rapids are all over, the river is finally calm and peaceful.
Sooner than you think— you’re in your late twenties and 30. Sadly, your canoe is now barely staying afloat because of all the damage. Most of your time is spent mending and repairing your canoe. And the rest of the time you are falling farther behind because you have to paddle down the river with only one oar. Some have lost both oars, so they can be seen foolishly trying to paddle with their hands since their oars are long gone.
Even though the river flows smoothly now, because your canoe is so badly damaged, the calm river continues to cause real danger. The danger of sinking and also struggling to paddle with your mended or possibly with no oars at all.
BUT LOOK. Look over there. You see another canoe that is whizzing past you. This person is your age, but they are smiling. Their canoe is perfect!
Why? Because they kept honoring and listening to their parents. “Their” canoes got through the rapids safely!!
Watch how they easily paddle and move around every problem without any difficulty!
LOOK! They are being honored by others at every turn and bend in their river of life. Success seems to be always theirs. Happiness is theirs. Love and admiration are theirs. And there you are, damaged and hurt as you watch, as you wonder…“What happened to my life? This is not what I wanted! This is not how I wanted my life to turn out!”
Look again at the big picture. The “rapids” along The River of Life take up only a very small part of your life.
If you will take a look at your life and “choose” to listen to your father and mother, do what is right. You will be able to save your oars, never flip over or hit the rocks because you let His Word and your parents guide you through those very short, difficult years.
“Leave the presence of a fool or you will not discern words of knowledge.” Don’t listen to anyone who urges you to run the rapids as if tomorrow will never come. If you make this wise decision now and never waver— I promise you will never regret it!
You can never go back and erase your mistakes. Just as violating the physical law of gravity will result in an object falling, in the same way, violating the principles of God will result in ongoing struggles your entire life. That’s why you must make each decision, each choice, with tomorrow and your future in mind.
If you do not want to be carried away never get in the water! Never try smoking, drinking, or drugs that lead to dependency. Never date and flip your canoe, which leads to divorce and a life that's broken. “Turn from temptation and do what is good”— will mean your future will be filled with joy with no regrets or consequences to deal with.
Just like you practice sports or music practice being good and faithful to God will lead to a life of joy and unlimited freedom! Give your heart to the Lord, your Beloved, right now and He will guide you and bring His perfect choice so you will live happily ever after.