Archives for posts with tag: adventure

blind faith

Blind Faith

I like deadlines and punctuality. I like knowing exactly what’s expected of me. I like agendas, and I’m more comfortable with schedules that help me meet all the short term goals that will lead me to the finished product. But I worship the God who is bigger than my schedule and expectations.

God’s timing is so different from ours that sometimes it seems to us that he’s not paying attention because we can’t see evidence of a plan. He doesn’t ask us to create a plan; he wants us to follow his. He doesn’t need our input on a timetable or agenda; he already knows it. He tells his children what their next step should be, and he rarely gives them the map that shows the journey all the way to the end. He told Abraham to take his family and move to a place that he would should him. He told the disciples, “Follow Me”. He never actually mentioned where they would be going. He told Rahab to stay inside her house while the walls of Jericho fall around her. He told Moses to go to Egypt and bring all of Pharaoh’s work force back home to the land God promised them. There was no detailed description of exactly how any of that would work. Daniel saw God’s power inside the lions’s den; Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego saw it inside the furnace. The disciples saw it inside the storm. Gideon saw it during the battle. The women saw it at Jesus’ tomb. God never gave them the details of how their story would end or how the battle would play out. Whether or not we can see the end or suggest a possible happy ending to God doesn’t change his ability to lead us forward in victory. Details are God’s job. All he required is that we obey for the next step, even in blind faith, so that we can trust him for adventures we can’t even imagine. All that separates us from his plan is our courage to take the next step in a direction where we usually don’t know what to expect.

I like predictability, but it is delight that makes life worthwhile. God did not create us to survive and be content; Jesus said he came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). The most memorable, glory filled moments of my life are those that brought the thrill of an adventure or awareness of God’s presence amidst what I thought was mundane. While I might find a neatly stacked set of papers tucked away in my file drawer ahead of a deadline more peaceful, the moments that interrupt my day with laughter or awe or just the briefest glimpse of God’s glory are the best part.

Delight cannot be scheduled. In order to find the delight in our relationship with God or in our day, we have to have the kind of blind faith that will allow us to step out and trust the plan of this God who will not be put in a box. If we insist on a secure path based on common sense, we will may arrive at our goals punctually, and never see the delight or know the adventure that God had planned for us.

May my limited understanding of who God is allow me to have the blind faith to follow where he leads me. May I never sacrifice adelight and adventure for predictable and punctual. May my blind faith lead me to have the courage to step past what I can (or can’t!) control and experience the delight and adventure that God has planned for me.

Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of his heart.

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We don’t like risk. We spend billions of dollars per year on insurance and warranties; we study Consumer Reports before buying anything. We buy new and improved safety seats for our children; we put them to bed in flame retardant pajamas, make them wear bike helmets, and insist that their playground be built on at least 6 inches of tire rubber to lower the risk of injuries. We buy tamper proof containers, and put metal detectors in our buildings and warnings on our hairdryers to decrease the risk of harm. We buy insurance for our vacations and our cell phones, and purchase extended warranties for our electronics and cars just to decrease our risk of financial loss. There are at two huge bureaucracies in our federal government, the FDA and CPA, devoted to protecting consumers from anything produced that might harm us. We don’t like risk for ourselves.

But we love it when other people take the risk. We glamorize the bad boys who live on the edge; the people who don’t play by the rules and still beat the odds. We make heroes out of frontiersmen and cowboys, soldiers, policemen, and firemen because they are willing to take risks. We root for the underdog and the one who pushes the limits to succeed. We wait with eager anticipation for the daredevils to do a life-threatening stunt; watch rodeos and NASCAR, waiting for the crashes.

Our culture seem to have a love/hate relationship with risk. But the real truth of the matter is that risk is inherent is inherent in everything we do. Every choice you make – to do or not to do something, has a cost. We may try to minimize risks, but we don’t want miss out either. If you take the chance, you risk failing; if you stay safe, you can’t succeed or accomplish anything of much value.

When I look carefully at the great adventures of the Bible, I realize that all of the awesome revelations and miracles were predicated on situations I would have desperately tried to avoid. Noah’s rescue from the flood followed a hundred years of construction that would most certainly have branded him the town kook. David, the teenage shepherd, accepted the challenge of a giant that the best warriors in the army of Israel had already refused to fight. Daniel’s miraculous rescue required that he spend the night with lions. Mary Magdalen suffered with seven demons before she could know God’s deliverance. All the people Jesus healed struggled with physical ailments and hopelessness.

I don’t want to be afraid or ridiculed. I don’t want to be thrown into a fiery furnace or sold into slavery. I don’t want to be falsely accused or put in jail. I don’t want to pick up a snake or be swallowed by a fish. I don’t want to challenge the authority of someone who has the power to kill me. I don’t want to have to defy my government to obey my God. I don’t want to mourn or be in pain or suffer or know shame. But it is in situations exactly like those that the obedience of ordinary people displays the extraordinary power of God.

The more I learn about God, the deeper my understanding of his character and his plan, the more I don’t want to be separated from him. I am an ordinary woman with real fears and weaknesses who worships the God who has all power and has promised to redeem me, and I want my life to display evidence of the extraordinary God I serve. But in order to do that, I’m going to have risk trusting and obeying His plan, even when I really like my plan.

The irony is that we control so very little. On August 17, 2001 my family visited the World Trade Center. We spent one hour in security lines. They knew they might be a target because they had already been attacked in 1993, and they were serious about security. They wanded each of us, they went through my purse and the boys’ backpacks, we were sniffed by dogs who could detect explosives, and each of us had to walk through a metal detector so they were absolutely sure we didn’t have weapons. 3 ½ weeks later, the people in charge of security for the World Trade Center on 9/11 again did everything they could to prevent the attack they expected.

The problem was that they weren’t expecting the attack that actually occurred. Their limited perspective and understanding didn’t prepare them for what really happened. Your limited perspective and understanding of the future won’t prepare you either. But your daily obedience to God’s call on your life will prepare you.

Those who choose to trust God more than they fear what they cannot control see the glory of God right here on earth. No matter what choice you make, it will cost you something. You can miss God’s presence and blessing, you can forfeit your front row see to God’s power at work in your life, if you insist on being your own God and reject any course of action that has risk. You’ll never see God’s power as clearly as when you finally realize you are not in control at all. Our choices don’t diminish or increase God’s love for us, but they do determine whether or not we allow God’s story to become our story. God doesn’t ask us to approve his plan or necessarily like what he asks us to do; but he does require that we obey…even when we can’t see the possibility of a happy ending. It is in those moments of obedience that He gives us the desires of his heart and a front row seat to see his power. If you refuse to do anything different, you will never accomplish anything new. Refusing to take risks keeps you tied to what has been, rather than what can be. Trust Him with what is to come.

blind faith

I like deadlines and punctuality. I like knowing exactly what’s expected of me. I like agendas and I’m more comfortable with schedules that help me meet all the short term goals that will lead me to the finished product. But I worship the God that is way bigger than that.

God’s timing is so different from ours that sometimes it seems to us that he’s not paying attention because we can’t see evidence of a plan. He doesn’t ask us to create a plan; he wants us to follow his. He doesn’t need our input on a timetable or agenda; he already knows it. He tells his children what their next step should be, and he rarely gives them the map that shows the journey all the way to the end. He told Abraham to take his family and move to a place that he would should him. He told the disciples, “Follow Me”. He never actually mentioned where they would be going. He told Rahab to stay inside her house while the walls of Jericho fall around her. He told Moses to go to Egypt and bring all of Pharaoh’s work force back home to the land God promised them. There was no detailed description of exactly how that would work. Daniel saw God’s power inside the lions’s den; Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego saw it inside the furnace. The disciples saw it inside the storm. Gideon saw it during the battle. He never gave them the details of how their story would end or how the battle would play out. The women saw it at Jesus’ tomb. Whether or not we can see the end or suggest a possible happy ending to God doesn’t change his ability to lead us forward in victory. Details are God’s job. All he required is that we obey for the next step, even in blind faith, so that we can trust him for adventures we can’t even imagine. All that separates us from his plan is our courage to take the next step in a direction where we usually don’t know what to expect.

I like predictability, but it is delight that makes life worthwhile. God did not create us to survive and be content; Jesus said he came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). The most memorable, glory filled moments of my life are those that brought the thrill of an adventure or awareness of God’s presence amidst what I thought was mundane. While I might find a neatly stacked set of papers tucked away in my file drawer ahead of a deadline more peaceful, the moments that interrupt my day with laughter or awe or just the briefest glimpse of God’s glory are the best part.

Delight cannot be scheduled. In order to find the delight in our relationship with God or in our day, we have to have the kind of blind faith that will allow us to step out and trust the plan of this God who will not be put in a box. If we insist on a secure path based on common sense, we will may arrive at our goals punctually, and never see the delight or know the adventure that God had planned for us.

May my limited understanding of who God is allow me to have the blind faith to follow where he leads me. May I never sacrifice delight and adventure for predictable and punctual. May my blind faith lead me to have the courage to step past what I can (or can’t!) control and experience the delight and adventure that God has planned for me.

Ps 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of his heart.

Without Warning

We live in a culture that puts a warning label on nearly everything. We are warned against smoking, diving into the shallow end of the pool, or using the hair dryer in the bathtub. Labels insist that we “shake well before using” or “take with food”. Signs warn us that trespassers will be prosecuted and unattended cars will be towed. Children should not stand in grocery carts, and no one should stand on the top rung of a ladder. We may fire a “warning shot” or hear a “warning bell”. Our society tries desperately to predict all outcomes and avoid everything that is dangerous or unpleasant. Too often, our need to feel like we are in control subordinates common sense and adventure to a flimsy façade of safety.

Sometimes God sends warnings. He warned Noah about the flood and Joseph about the impending famine. He warned Elijah about the coming drought and the coming rainstorm. He warned Joseph to get Mary and Jesus out of Bethlehem before Herod’s troops arrived. He warned Peter that Satan was going to “sift” him and that he would betray Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. But when God sent warnings, they required action.

Sometimes there is no warning. Medical emergencies and accidents are never scheduled for our convenience. We have our day all planned and suddenly the phone rings, the toilet overflows, the car gets a flat tire. If we knew when the stock market crash would occur, we would get our money out in time to save it. If we knew the policeman was running radar, we’d have slowed before we rounded the curve. Even Publisher’s Clearing House surprises the winners.

We go through each day of our lives expecting them to be predictable, but, every once in a while we face a moment that changes our future without warning. We meet our soul mate or the one who will inspire us to become more than we are. There is a surprise diagnosis on a routine medical exam or a sudden crisis that totally refocuses our priorities. An opportunity appears or a natural disaster wipes out our security in a moment. We face life changing moments with no warning, and how we handle them indicates what we believe about God, our character, and our priorities.

The Bible is full of stories of people who wake up one morning, just like every other morning, with no warning that their lives were about to change. Joseph went to check on his brothers and ended up in a pit before being sold into slavery. Moses was tending sheep when he saw the burning bush. David was delivering provisions to his brothers in the army when he heard the taunts of Goliath. Who knows what Mary was doing when Gabriel appeared. Peter, James, and John went on a hike up the mountain with Jesus and ran into Elijah and Moses. The disciples were having a prayer meeting when wind raced through the room and tongues of fire landed on their head. Paul was headed to Damascus to arrest some Christians when a bright light interrupted him. The Samaritan Woman went to get water from the well, and met the love of her life. Their priorities changed in an instant, and their lives changed forever.

God does not promise to warn us, but he does promise us his presence and power, no matter what the circumstance is. How we respond to the warnings, how we respond to events that don’t come with a warning, are probably the best indicators of what we believe about God. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, but we are promised forever if we choose to love him and obey him. He has warned us that he’s coming back for us and that we will be judged. We don’t have the timeline, but we do know his expectations. Embrace God’s interruptions in your life. Choose to live each day expectantly. See all that happens as an opportunity to know his presence and have a front row seat to his activity in your world. Sometimes you will be surprised by delight; sometimes it may be fear or tragedy; always God is with you.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Acts8:28)