My youngest daughter's birthday is July 4th, so it's an extra celebration for us. She's always so excited to get fireworks on her birthday. This year a friend of ours offered to take us in his boat to the Cape Fear River, where fireworks would be shot off of the U.S.S. Battleship North Carolina.
We traveled quickly south down the ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway), wind ripping through our hair and clothes. The salt spray got us a few times as well when our boat crossed another boat's wake, causing the boat’s bow to slam up and down against the water.
A landlubber, I'm not fond of choppy waters and fast speeds, so when we reached the mouth of the river and had to make a right turn in order to come inland, I got a bit nervous. Thankfully, our friend slowed down for me.
It took about an hour to reach our destination, where we were among at least 30 other boats and thousands of on shore spectators. We were trying to set anchor when the display began. I've seen fireworks everywhere from Washington, D.C. to Germany to Disney World, but there's nothing like sitting directly under them when they explode. The sound was deafening and I had to shield my eyes several times because of the brightness. But the feeling of being a kid again, oohing and ahing, trumped any discomfort.
Finally, the show ended and we began our trek home. Now, of course, it was totally dark. The river current was against us, so it took longer to get back to the waterway. Thank God for GPS and depth finders, because we nearly hit a few of the unlit markers when we strayed too close to the boundary of the safe range. I felt so helpless, not being able to control the water or the boat or where the markers were in the almost pitch black. The red and green flashing signs and the GPS were the only things there to guide our friend in the right direction. Thankfully, he was very experienced.
Finally, about two hours later, we arrived back at the marina. I was never so happy to see good ole terra firma! I thanked God silently and our friend aloud for the safe and fun trip. Even though parts of the experience were nerve-wracking, the fantastic show made it all worthwhile.
Isn't that how our lives are sometimes? God is the captain of our boat. He alone knows where the channel is, where the signs are, where the dangers are. He slows down for us sometimes when we're scared. But we have to cross choppy waters--it's inevitable in the journey he's taking us on. But he's faithful. His promise to be with us when we pass through the waters remains a hope for us. And at the end of the journey we will look back on the joys and the trials and see that it was all worthwhile.