Daily D – Isaiah 43:2
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. ISAIAH 43:2 (NLT)
Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” I wonder where she got that idea? I wonder if we have awakened to this idea?
Reading the Chronicles of Narnia and similar adventures from C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and others, readers discover the truth of Keller’s observation. We can look at life as a daring adventure, or we can view it as a colossal hassle. I prefer to think of it as an adventure.
We raised our children on these kinds of adventure stories. It was on the road home from the Glorieta Conference Center where I read a book aloud to them that began with these simple words: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” There and back again we traveled with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey as our companions.
Apparently, our children learned how to fight dragons and overcome them through wit and appropriately applied force. After all, it was Bard the Bowman who took down Smaug as he terrorized the city and lit it aflame. Our little boy grew up to become a Marine Commander. Our little girl grew up to become an Assistant District Attorney. Our unofficially-adopted-but-just-as-much-loved daughter grew up to teach students the fine art of laughter in the face of dangerous adventures. We do not have the time or space here to fully declare all of her epic journeys.
God does not promise us adventure-free lives. That is what Bilbo thought he wanted. Then after his first great adventure and return to his sedate lifestyle, he longed to see “mountains again, mountains Gandalf!” Rubber bands and lives once stretched never shrink back to their original inflexibilities.
Life is full of adventures. Some people call them problems. Deep waters and a necessary crossing? Adventure! Rivers of difficulty? Adventure! Walking through fire? Adventure! Come to think of it, I myself have story for each of these categories.
What turns problems into adventures is perspective. Viewed through our lenses of comfort and ease, we agree with Bilbo, “We don’t want any adventures here, thank you.” Thrust into the deep, into rushing waters, into wildfires, we begin to see things differently. It is amazing how quickly hard-core atheists develop prayer lives of their own in such circumstances. How does God respond and act when adventures come our way? He starts with these words from verse 1:
Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
We are his peculiar treasures. He loves us with an everlasting love. He has a purpose for us no ocean, no river, and no flaming wildfire can destroy. We can confidently step into every adventure our Father in heaven brings our way. He tells us to not be afraid and to trust him instead.
We may feel like we are pursued, stalked by a lion. Terror may grip us. Indeed, sometimes moving in the direction of God’s dreams for us frightens us to our core. Like a particular character from Narnia, we may well discover our pursuer which forced us forward in flight was none other than Aslan himself.
Today is a daring adventure or nothing at all. Will you go with God? Or will you slink through life avoiding anything appearing challenging?
How can you smell the salt air and feel the breeze on your skin without your heart rate quickening?
How can you hear the sounds of rushing waters and not be drawn to them?
How can you see the fires and not experience the excitement of it all?
How did Gandalf the Grey become Gandalf the White? It was a great adventure.
How will you battle through this day?
How will you safely arrive home in the light?
It will be a great adventure.
Ocean or river,
Flood or flame,
Today is a day
To live for His fame.
Problems will come.
When seen through his eyes.
I will experience life’s great adventures as I walk with the Lord in the light of his way.
Our Father, like Bilbo Baggins, I do not seek adventures, but they keep showing up at my door. It is a dangerous business going out the door. We are never quite sure where the journey will lead us. However, we know that you tell us to stop being afraid. You tell us we belong to you. You tell us you will never leave us nor forsake us. You tell us where you guide, you provide. You tell us you will deliver us across oceans, through rivers, and out of flames. You tell us life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. I consent to go only in your company and always for your good pleasure. What adventures lie before us today? Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)