Missed Adventures

     This past Thursday I had the opportunity for an adventure with a friend,  Allan, from church. He invited me to go kayaking with him on the Bull  River. After lunch with Allan and Sue, we headed to the first bridge where we unloaded the kayaks, carried them down to the river, which at this time of year is usually about as low as it will get, and began our adventure.  Our wives drove both vehicles to the next bridge where we would be getting back out–hopefully–and left one vehicle for us.  The distance between bridges is about five miles, but, as we discovered, the distance by water was probably something over 10 miles!  We gave our wives an estimated time of our return of a little over two hours. 
     But, Allan had never navigated the first part of this stretch of the river and for the first hour we discovered a series of shallow riffles and log jams which required numerous portages. Other times we managed to navigate the shallow stretches by pulling ourselves along the gravel with our hands!  Once we encountered a log across the water at the surface in a fairly fast, but deep  stretch of water and found ourselves in a rather difficult predicament of not being able to continue downstream but having a challenge to get the kayaks to the bank and out of the water to go over the log jam. (These were rather long lake kayaks, not the short river kayaks, so it was not quite so easy to just  “take up your boat and walk!”)  Allan said had he come and scouted out our course, he probably wouldn’t have attempted it. But, it was a beautiful day, we had a great time, and overcame the obstacles along the way and soon had smooth water for the remainder of the journey.  It did turn out to be much further than expected and though we paddled hard for the last portion, it took us a good three hours. Our wives were just about to coming looking for us when we returned. 
     Allan and I commented on how, had he checked this out ahead of time and decided not to  attempt it, we would have missed out on a fun, exciting adventure. It is a beautiful stretch of water in the spectacular Bull River Valley, with an awesome view of the mountains around us and the schools of fish beneath us scurrying along to outrun us.  We had a great day and were very glad we had continued on our adventure, even though we hit some tough spots along the  way. 
    How much like the spiritual adventures in our lives.  If we knew ahead of time what challenges we would face, we’d probably opt out and say, “God, this is not for  me. I am very satisfied just to stay in my comfort zone and float on the smooth waters.”  It’s a good thing that God doesn’t show us ahead of time the obstacles that we will face, the hard times we will go through, and the  adversity that will come our way. We would probably look for a way to avoid that course and find an easier path.  But, we would miss out on some great adventures.  Serving Christ will have its challenging times, ones where you will think there is no way you can continue, but when you trust the Lord you somehow make it through and often find some “smooth sailing” (for a while!) on the other side.  One thing about serving God, it is not boring!  When He called the disciples to follow Him, Jesus never promised it would be easy. He  never promised them a life of ease. But what He did promise was that He would always be with them and provide all they needed to make it through each adventure along the way. In the “Great Commission” Jesus said to the disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:19,20).   Did the disciples have an easy ride?  Hardly, but it was surely an exciting one.  In fact Jesus warned them, saying, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (Jn.16:33). 
     But, many of us don’t want to take risks. We like the safe and comfortable and predictable. We’re afraid to try any new “stretches of  water.”  We want things calm and serene.  But then we will miss out on some of the exciting adventures that God has in store for those who are willing to step out of their comfort zones and take risks for Him.  Someone said, “The Church is made up of ‘risktakers’ and ‘caretakers.’  If the risktakers are ruled over by the caretakers, they will go to the  ‘undertakers’ with little to show for their lives.”   
     When the  Israelites were entering the Promised Land, they had to cross the Jordan River  across from Jericho.  But it was harvest time and the “Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest” (Josh. 3:15). How  would the hundreds of thousands of Israelites get across?  “Then Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the LORD will do  wonders among you.’ And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, ‘Take up the ark of  the covenant and cross over ahead of the people.’ So they took up the ark of the  covenant and went ahead of the people.  Now the LORD said to Joshua, ‘This  day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. You shall, moreover,  command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying ‘When you  come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan” (Josh. 3:6-8). Normally the Kohathites carried the Ark, but on this extraordinary occasion the Levites who were priests carried it.  How would you like to have been the priests at the front of the line?  Not only were they to step foot in the flooding Jordan, but they were to stand in the middle of the river while all Israel crossed over!  What if they had decided, “No way are we going to do this. It is too risky. What if it doesn’t  work?”  But they stepped in, and “the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap…and those flowing down toward the Dead Sea were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho.  And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan” (Josh. 3:16,17).   Wow, what an adventure!  What a display of the power and providence of Almighty God.
     I’m sure that God has some exciting adventures in store for us as well, but we need to be  willing to “step into the water,” just like Peter too had to do when Jesus invited him to walk on the water. If we stay “in the boat” we will miss those adventures that come to those willing to take risks and follow the Lord wherever He leads.

           Forever His,

                     Pastor  Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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