Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Adventure Includes Everything

Last week, Randy and I watched a documentary about a team of climbers who hiked K2.

Besides the amazing story and complex struggle of courage, communication, ego and oxygen-deprived decision making, I was struck with the amount of waiting involved. After months of preparation they waited at the highest base camp for 60 days before attempting the final summit. That's two months of waiting! The weather conditions had to be perfect. Their plans had to be precise. 

We don't usually think of adventure that way. Waiting, we grumble, is what gets in the way of our plans. 

But what if we are exactly where we need to be, and the circumstances that we grumble about are exactly what they are for a reason and are part of what is making up our story? Are we willing to accept that this is part of our adventure?

Let me explain it this way:  Take an imaginary snapshot of your current life.

Set up the photo carefully. 

Squish people together so there is room for all who are involved in your life right now.  Include your dog, a bank statement, your schedule, your to-do list and maybe a list of broken things you want to fix around your home. Include your medicine, your knee brace and your glasses.

Bring in your family, friends, dentist, doctor, neighbor and the guy who fixes your car. Bring your email contacts, your phone, your half-finished painting and guitar.

Include your favorite books, music and movies. Invite the people who work for the charities you donate to or volunteer with. Roll your bike into the scene. Invite the parents of your kids' friends and anyone that you have regular contact with regardless of whether or not you feel it is significant. Bring your unfinished birdhouse building project in from the garage and place it on the floor. Drag in a basket of laundry and a stack of paperwork. Now, climb into that crowd of people and things and lists and stick yourself right in the middle. Smile.

This is your adventure . . .  and it includes everything.

Imagine the photo shoot that Jesus would have put together. His life was not a tidy collection of nice people, easy answers, black and white decisions, and trouble-free, delay-free living. His adventure included everything: suffering, disappointment, waiting, lonliness, misunderstandings and rejection. He had a small band of followers who doubted him most of the time, his family struggled to know what he was doing and his friends were social outcasts whose association with Jesus brought much gossip and trouble. He was loved and hated. In fact, the gospel story is the 'photo shoot' of Jesus and it includes everything.

I'm not sure where we get the idea that our lives need to be running on a straight track of success and progress and that any sign of weakness or setbacks are not allowed. Every great adventure story has setbacks. Every great finish is about endurance. Let's be clear about this life and how God wants us to live. Let's seek Him for wisdom and become people who finish well, whose stories are full of endurance, perseverance and patience. Let's allow God to do His redemptive work through our lives and not be tempted to disregard our weakness and setbacks as unimportant. Adventures include . . . everything!

"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)