Recently, we had the joy of hosting fifty students from the Rabbinical College of America in New Jersey for a weekend of inspiration and solidarity with our community. It was a wonderful Shabbat, lively and full of song and wisdom, and the closing event was to be a canoe trip down the Ipswich River. A nine-mile river run in mild currents was sure to be a beautiful day out.

My children were desperate to participate, so we decided to join them on their trip. On a blazing hot summer day, off we launched, with two of my kids and a nephew in tow. Another young adult rower, one of the students, joined us in our canoe, and we were on our way.

Ten minutes into the trip, my kids already wanted outAlas, our calm day came to a splashing halt minutes in, when we navigated into some branches and nearly flipped the boat, tossing me overboard. Luckily the kids managed to stay in, but not before filling half the boat with water, soaking the bag with our towels and cell-phone, and losing my glasses overboard. Ten minutes into the trip, my kids already wanted out.

But we managed to calm them down and continue on our way.

The instructor had told us to "simply follow the stream," that the rivers don't contain major rapids, and aren't very complex. However, as the hours wore on, we were separated from the group, and found ourselves paddling somewhat aimlessly down little back areas replete with lilies, and no visible dry land. A deep fear overtook me.

I think one of the primary goals of a father is to convey total confidence to your children, especially in times of danger. But at that moment, I had everything to fear, and I was scraping the bottom of my barrel to convey confidence, optimism and enthusiasm to these sun-burnt, thirsty kids. I tried to convince them that we were going in the right direction and that the only reason we hadn't seen anyone in an hour is because we were so far ahead. I don't know how convincing I was, but it was enough to calm them down.

At the time, my stomach was tied in knots.

Finally, after an hour or so, we saw a lone kayaker heading upstream. He gave us directions and we slowly got ourselves back on the main river where we met the others. My confidence was restored, the kids were relieved, and we even managed to wrangle a water bottle from another boat.

Later, upon reflection of the day's events, I realized that this particular journey had many lessons to teach. Aside from the obvious lessons to stick with the group, drink more water, use more sun lotion, the lesson of finding inner faith in times of fear is what stuck with me the most.

Faith is a "spiritual muscle" one can developWhile it felt rather frightening to be lost in middle of nowhere with three little boys and a young yeshiva student, in truth, we were never in any real danger. What was lacking was basic faith in G‑d, the river, and the canoe company who would've warned us of any plausible risks.

Sometimes in life, we are overwhelmed with fear or panic, and while certain situations are truly difficult and frightening, with no obvious solutions, in many cases, a little time and a lot of faith will get us though it.

(I once heard a national radio-host say, "95% of what we spend time worrying about never actually happens.")

Though not an easy task, faith is a "spiritual muscle" one can develop. Just as a physical muscle gets stronger the more it's exercised, and the strenuous work becomes less taxing, our faith muscles can also be developed. So when one is afraid and panicking, the situation can be resolved by employing faith, and realizing that there is no danger, and G‑d protects us always.

In Chassidic literature, we read of forty-two primary journeys a person must make in their life to reach their personal Promised Land. This is based on the Torah portion of Massei (Numbers 33-35), where the forty-two journeys the Jews sojourned in the desert before entering the land of Israel are enumerated.

For every person, these journeys are different, and don't necessarily represent a physical move from one location to another. Rather, they are life challenges, or life-altering events that leave you in a different "place" than you were before.

Well, now I've shared what may have been one of my forty-two. Have you had any lately?