…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

The River and the Current

By Eric Chaffey


Sacramento River

I moved to Sacramento in February. Since then I’ve discovered a lot and found myself getting accustomed to various aspects of the area. Most notably, the river. There actually two rivers in Sacramento. The American river which flows from the east and empties into the Sacramento river, and the Sacramento river which begins up near Mount Shasta and empties into the San Francisco bay. Both rivers by nature have elements that make them beautiful as well as dangerous.

On any given day on the Sacramento river on the surface it can look as absolutely smooth and still as glass and one tends to think it’s not moving at all. On the contrary it’s actually moving quite fast. It’s broad and deep which makes it appear very placid and almost lake like at times. But when you’re in the water you notice the current very strongly.

I take my dog swimming in the Sacramento river frequently. As I tend not to be a very strong swimmer I never get in the water without a life jacket. With a life jacket, I’m relatively safe if I don’t do anything really stupid such as swim out into the path of a ski boat or a river cruiser. But even with a life jacket, there are hazards. The current which one can’t see above the surface is very strong underneath and without hardly trying it’s very easy to let it carry you away. When trying to swim against the current, one cannot make any progress at all by swimming a breast stroke or a side stroke. Even a back stroke is not very effective against the strong current. To make any progress, one must either have a really strong crawl stroke or a butterfly. And for the record, I don’t have a butterfly in me. A passing ski boat or cruiser can create waves which can add other difficulty.

As with the current in the river, so it is with the swim of life. It can be quite pleasant to be carried by the current away by the current and just float along. The scenery may be beautiful, and the floating feel beautiful and relaxing. But therein lies the problem. Some of the current can lead us into very dangerous territory. We can get caught in the rapids, or some other under water hazard we can’t see. Or we could end up heading over a waterfall if we’re not careful.

In the beautiful and sometimes craziness of the world, we need to be like the salmon that fight their way up river against the current to get back to their home. The salmon have an internal mechanism that leads them back to their home from whence they came. Some of them don’t make it home. But they have the drive and determination to make it back home. We too need to have that drive and determination to get back to our heavenly home.

Some days the struggle seems to much and the current is so strong that we feel worn out and tired of the struggle. But we can’t give up and still hope to achieve that goal. Fortunately for the salmon as well as for us there is help along the way. Loving friends and angels, and the beloved Comforter are there to help. It is only after fighting and striving that we will achieve the ultimate goal of rest and peace, and the loving embrace of Our Lord.

I hope that I can achieve that one day, and can feel the safe, comforting, and loving embrace of a beloved Elder Brother who loved us so much that he sacrificed all for our gain. Of Him I sing praises and prayer.

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2 Responses to “The River and the Current”

  1. Rex Goode said:

    As always, Eric, you provide great inspiration and analogies to life. I’m impressed with your river adventures. I’ve always been afraid of natural bodies of water. I can swim in a pool but not in a river. I was at Bonneville Dam yesterday and watched salmon, lamprey, and sturgeon swimming up the fish ladders against the current. From the windows below, you can’t help but admire their determination. The all handle it a little differently. The lampreys are very interesting. They have these big round mouths with are like suction cups. They attach to the windows in clumps, kind of working together. I think that’s the best way. Working at it together.

  2. Eric said:

    Thanks Rex. I appreciate your thoughts and encouragement. It really helps. Love ya,


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