Adventure– definition: ‘an unusual and exciting or daring experience.’
‘but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.’
(Daniel 11:32 NKJV)
I was walking across Conway Square en route to Caffè Nero for a caffeine boost.
I glanced to my right. A t-shirt in the shop window said ‘It isn’t an adventure till something goes wrong!’
I smiled. It’s true! I smiled more as thoughts of real life examples proved its truth.
Like the time Before Children when our hired car suddenly started smoking like a dragon – in the picturesque village of Macugnaga near Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps. Right in front of their annual parade. ‘Rapido! Rapido!’ the Italian police man roared- his main concern was clearing the obstruction rather than our safety the smoking car! The parade was interrupted for a few minutes- our holiday was interrupted for a few days!
A hitch hike down the valley, a train journey to Orta followed by a 2 mile walk to the villa ended the day. Then a few days of negotiations with the hire car company!
Or the time we were travelling to Eilean Donan castle. We stopped at a picture-perfect Inn complete with a majestic stag & snow-capped mountain outside. We ordered breakfast & without any shaking or warning Ethan’s ketchup exploded over his face & the walls & curtains of the dining area.
Or last year when the aircon in our campervan broke right at the start of our summer road trip. Instead of driving south toward Italy we turned left & kept going to Copenhagen! Sometimes you have to embrace the detour!
Yeah- it’s not an adventure till something goes wrong!
When I was a student in Dundee, I used a devotional book called ‘Adventure with God’ I liked that idea- doing life as an adventure with God. Back then life was ordered & contained. Studying & time with friends. Minimal responsibility ( though I don’t think I appreciated the lightness of this) Days were bright & carefree
Steven Curtis Chapman wrote this song –The Great Adventure:
‘Saddle up your horses
We’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s Amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the Glorious unknown
This is the life like no other
This is the great adventure’
I’ve heard him sing it in concert- it’s got a feel-good country n western vibe. I was reminded again of the song as I’m reading his biography Between heaven & the real world.And it’s a great image- trail-blazing through life in God’s amazing grace.
‘In the surety of God’s love we can let up on the reins of our everyday, and enjoy the panoramic view of his covenantal faithfulness, stretching as far as the eye can see’ (Amanda Bible Williams-She Reads Truth)
As we travel along this journey called life, God will guide us through lush green pastures & verdant valleys with pleasant vistas to the mountain tops where we gasp at the grandeur of His Grace.
But it isn’t an adventure until something goes wrong!
‘All who sail the sea of faith
Find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark
And gentle winds grow strong’
During halcyon days disaster can strike.
An unexpected phonecall.
A sudden illness.
An unwanted label.
The end of a relationship.
Bad things happening to good people.
Storms can hit our life in different ways at different times- altering its course but ‘Smooth seas don’t make for skilful sailors’ (African Proverb)
In this adventure called life, God never promised to take away the storm but to be with us in it:
‘Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will’
‘Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the Lord on high is mighty.’
(Psalm 93:4 NIV)
‘Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child’
In the dark days, in days of difficulty & lament, in this life we live as an adventure with God, we can declare:
‘This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are
And our God is in control’
Steven Curtis Chapman wrote these poignant words after his daughter Maria died in a tragic accident at their home:
‘This is not how it should be
This is not how it could be
This is how it is
And our God is in control’
No matter what, God is Sovereign. He is in control of our adventure with Him. He is with us in the trials & these may even bring us closer to Him.
Charles Spurgeon wrote “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”
Painfully challenging words.
Dave Furman has written a book entitled ‘Kiss the wave: Embracing God in your suffering’ He is a pastor in Dubai who has suffered debilitating nerve pain for years. His wife Gloria wrote this blog. Watch this short video about Dave’s story.
In our adventure with God, He is present with us in the dark chapters.
‘Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.’
(Psalms 23:4 NLT)
‘Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.’
‘God takes us where we did not intend to go to produce in us that which we could not produce on our own. It’s called uncomfortable grace.’
In this great adventure called life we are never alone. It might not feel OK (it might never feel ok) but He is there.
‘God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.’
(Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV)
No matter what chapter we’re in – still waters, green pastures or the valley of dark shadows He is with us.
As we trek through this adventure called life, God says:
“Don’t be afraid,
I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD,
your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.”
‘Maybe it’s here in the waiting
that you learn to get lost:
lost in the adventure of learning to know Him more
because you know that whatever happens,
He has wonderful things in store.
And even when it’s hard
It’s worth waiting for’
(Morgan Harper Nichols)
‘Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations’ (unknown)