Adventure Awaits: Anticipating Adventure

New York City: the place where dreams come true!  At least, it had been a long-time dream of mine to visit.  I longed to see the bright lights, sense the electric atmosphere, and drink in the multicultural flavours available on every street corner.

For me, to visit New York City felt like a dream; an impossibility.  I always imagined that I would be much older (and earning far more money!) before I visited the city, so it had never even crossed my mind to consider it as a vacation destination.

However, one Saturday afternoon, over a Starbucks coffee date, my friend told me she hoped to visit NYC later that year, and, for the very first time, the possibility of making my dream a reality flitted through my mind.

The truth was, my interest in NYC was more than just a once-in-a-lifetime vacation destination.  The longing to visit stirred something deeper within me, and that stirring later nudged me into taking the plunge; that is, spending more than I would normally spend on a vacation to accompany my friend on a five-day break in the Big Apple in September 2012.

Surprisingly (and yet not surprising at all), I experienced a sense of familiarity and ease when I was there.  Despite having never visited the city before, it instantly felt like home.  

For a further two years, my spirit continued to yearn for NYC.  It seemed like such an unlikely goal, but I could not shake the feeling that I wasn’t done with the city yet.

In those uncertain months, I began to relate well to the story in Mark 4:35-41.  It recounts a time when Jesus and His disciples faced a huge storm.  Jesus had spent the entire day teaching and using parables to illustrate the gospel message, then, declaring “Let us go across to the other side,” He and His companions hopped into a boat on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus, exhausted from a long day of speaking to the crowds, fell asleep, but a great storm arose on the sea, battering the boat with large waves and strong winds.  Terrified, His disciples woke Jesus and cried, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Immediately, Jesus commanded the wind and waves to cease and the storm broke, restoring calm instantaneously.  He asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

The disciples had been faced with a crisis and feared for their lives, therefore their natural response was fear.  Many of us may not have faced death, but, no doubt, we can all remember crisis moments in our lives when we were overwhelmed by the stormy circumstances raging around us and responded in fear, uncertain that God was really in control.

But the disciples’ fear, like ours, was misplaced.  Before they climbed into the boat, Jesus had declared that they were going to the other side (not that they would go to the middle and drown!)  Therefore, if the disciples had truly understood who Jesus was, they would have feared Him far more than the storm, and would have been assured that they really were going to the other side.  

Yet they had missed the memo.  They had not fully appreciated that Jesus was God incarnate.  They accepted his declaration merely as a good intention, and not as indisputable hard fact.

Do we react to God’s proclamations over our own lives like this too?  Do we hear only good intentions when God states them as truth?  Do we respond in fear, despair and doubt when the storm rises up around us, instead of reminding ourselves who travels in the boat alongside us?

“Let’s go to the other side.”  This declaration pursued me for months during that two year wait, and became the promise I clung to when the wind and waves of life threatened to steal it away.  I believed God had said we (He and I) would go to the other side (of the Atlantic Ocean) and, though it seemed an impossible dream, I chose to trust His Word and anticipate the fulfilled promise.

Through the storm, God continued to prepare me for the next season, I, all-the-while, unaware of what it might look like.  I began to gently push at doors of opportunity but I was also careful not to try to make things happen on my own.  

My journal entries in 2014 catalogue the events of what would become a very significant season, full of lessons and of God’s guidance and provision:

26th January 2014: “Today’s devotional reading, plus a conversation with a friend, has encouraged me to take the step to pursue a trip to NYC this year.  I’ve been putting it off, mainly for financial reasons, but also for fear of what others may think.  But I believe this is a step I could take and will trust that God will make the way clear, and perhaps use this to show me more of where He is leading me.”

So convinced that God had a plan for me in NYC that would unfold later that year, I sold my car to fund ten days in NYC plus a five day break with friends in L.A.  My time in New York was to be split between a few days alone in Manhattan to explore, read, and pray, plus a week at Metro World Child’s taster program, MWC Bootcamp.

The idea of visiting Metro World Child had also been an idea that had danced through my mind during those two years, but it had never quite felt right… until then.  I knew a number of people who had worked or visited there before and I deliberated over whether or not I should too.  But what was one week if it turned out it wasn’t the right place for me?  So I decided to give it a go.

23rd February 2014: “I booked my flights to NYC / Metro / L.A. this week but, now that it’s done, I’ve grown anxious about going alone, about being disappointed following such great expectations, and about what others might think.”

Notice I was concerned about what others could think of my actions.  I recall thinking that NYC was not considered to be your typical mission field; it was no African orphanage or Balkan refugee camp.  It, perhaps, seemed too easy to fly to the glitz and glam of Manhattan and call it ‘mission’.

But every city, town and village in the world has someone who needs to hear about Jesus.  It should not be a question of where we want to go, but where God is leading us to.

After applying for Bootcamp, I began to read the autobiography of Bill Wilson, Founder and Pastor of Metro World Child, entitled ‘Whose Child is This?’, to gain a better understanding of what I would be involved with for my week there and the challenges that I might face.  I am easily distracted so it usually takes me weeks, if not months, to finish a book.  This one, however, I worked through in just six days; I couldn’t put it down!  It became instrumental in that season in aligning me with God’s purposes for what was still to come.  I recall hearing a church leader once state that it is not the content of a book that is significant, but the season in which you read it.  This was glaringly evident for me in that moment.

My heart echoed the words that I read in Pastor Bill’s book; ”Even though the program [I was involved with] was a huge success, there was a restlessness in my spirit.  I knew that God had something else on my agenda.  I didn’t know where it was or what it was, but my heart was open.  I always wanted to do more and believed I could.” (Pastor Bill Wilson)

Having booked MWC Bootcamp to push at a door of opportunity, God used a series of events to then confirm that the MWC three-month Internship was to be my next step.

22nd April 2014: “Interestingly, over the last couple of days I’ve been wondering if I should do the Metro internship for 3 months at the end of this year… I was thinking through this very thing (worrying over financing it!) when my colleague sitting across from me in the church office, completely out of the blue, suggested I do an internship in the U.S. for 3 months!  She said she didn’t know where the thought had come from; “perhaps it was a God thing!””

By the time I was ready to fly to New York for Bootcamp, I had been accepted onto the Internship, shared my plans with my family and close friends, and submitted my resignation at work.  God may ask us to wait and take His time preparing us, but when He acts, He often acts quickly!

29th May 2014: “(On flight to Metro Bootcamp) Today I’m a lot more uneasy – anxious, lonely, distracted – than I expected.  I think more than anything I’m worried that the reality of NYC / Metro won’t live up to my expectations.  But I need to remember that when God directs my path, I won’t be disappointed.”

2nd June 2014: “While I’ve felt at home during the day, fear comes at night and I worry I don’t have what it takes to stay here.  Only yesterday, two kids were stabbed, one died, in Brooklyn.  Can I hear, see, witness, experience things like this and still sleep at night?  I don’t want to start this if I can’t finish it, but it terrifies me!”

Fear became a very real battle for me while I was there; fear like I had never experienced before.  The stories I had read in ‘Whose Child is This?’ – of violence, drugs, rape and murder – played heavily on my mind and I sincerely doubted that I could or should still participate in the Internship.  

As I sat in the back of one of the signature yellow Yogi Bear trucks one balmy evening after Bootcamp, having spent the day in the Bronx visiting families living in the Projects, I prayed.  I spent the hour-long journey back to the ministry’s headquarters holding back tears and silently pouring my heart out to God.  It felt somewhat like a negotiation; I began by stating all my fears, worries and concerns.  Then I shared my doubts, my weaknesses, my feelings of inadequacy.  I told Him what I needed from Him if we were going to do this, and do this together.  But I ended the turbulent prayer with surrender: if this truly was what God had called me to do (and I knew that it was), then I would be obedient, even though every part of me in that moment wanted desperately to leave and never return.

God, in His goodness and grace, led me to the passage in Acts 18:9-10, when God spoke to the Apostle Paul and encouraged him to continue doing as he was doing, despite opposition. He said, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” (NLT)

These verses held so much promise for me: promise of His protection, promise of His presence, and promise of purpose; to use me, to speak through me, and to win souls for Christ through my obedience.  These verses anchored me for the next six months, repeating them to myself often in moments when fear threatened to defeat me.

7th June 2014: “On our way home from the pizza place this evening, we saw a guy pull a gun on someone else.  However, it turned out to be an undercover cop.  It was nerve-wracking but I didn’t panic, which I think is testament to the growth in me this week.”

By the end of those 10 days in NYC, my heart had done a 360° turn.  Through excitement to apprehension to fear to anticipation, God used the Bootcamp to give me a glimpse of what was to come, but He also used it to show me that I was not alone; we were going to do this together.  I would never have lasted the full duration of the internship if I had not used every ounce of resolve I had to lean on Him and draw courage from Him on a daily basis.

This resolve was necessary when I considered my finances, too.  One of the reasons I had taken so long to visit NYC in the first place was because flights alone were just too pricy.  But having committed to the internship, I now had three-month’s living expenses to fund on top of that.

As I prayed and pondered over this very issue, I read a quote from Jim Cymbala, Senior Pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NYC; “When Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to protect baby Jesus from Herod, they were supported during the time they were there by the gold, frankincense and myrrh given by the Magi.  Isn’t it good to know that whatever God’s plan is for your life, he’s going to provide what you need for that plan?  The important thing is to be led by Him.”

It’s true.  With less than a month to go before I left for the internship, God provided what I needed – $3000 – in the space of just one weekend.  I have faced a number of financially challenging moments throughout my faith adventure thus far, but this, and other testimonies I have witnessed along the way, always build my faith to wait for and receive the next miracle.

After two years of God declaring that He would take me to the other side, He did.  He led me there, He provided for me there, He guided me while I was there, and He used the experience to open my eyes to the reality of New York City living.  I witnessed, not only the glamorous minority in Manhattan or the trendy artists who dwell in hipster corners of Brooklyn, but the large single-parent families who live in rundown one-bedroom apartments in Harlem and The Bronx.  I became a friend for the lonely, I embodied safety for those who lived in fear, and I embraced those who were desperately deprived of love.

I was so naive when I arrived on the other side.  I recall my first night there; I was standing speaking to the Intern Coordinator and heard a series of bangs and cracks outside.  “Ooo, fireworks!” I said, just looking for something to say to break the awkward silence.  “Em, no…” she said, with a mixed look of surprise and concern, “that’s gun shots.”

The internship ended mid-December and I headed back to Scotland to spend Christmas with my family.  But in my heart I carried many questions surrounding what came next.

28th December 2014: “I’ve realised that the supernatural boldness I leant on in NYC has gone (or was subjective, or maybe I’ve disregarded it) since I got back.  I’ve been fearful about stupid things and have been coasting along on the faith and trust I had in the lead-up to, and during, Metro.  But now I need to refocus my eyes and fix them on Jesus, in Him I need have NO fear, and seek Him for direction, purpose, promises fulfilled in this new season.”

It became so evident to me, as I re-adjusted to life back in Scotland, that I found it much easier to trust God when “on mission” than when faced with “normal life”.  Quitting my job, going to the other side of the world for three months, generating no income, and doing it alone was easier to do than returning home where, arguably, I had a home, a couple of job prospects, and a host of friends and family members around me.  I wrongly assumed that the responsibility of what happened next fell on my shoulders, because the possibilities were tangible.  When there are no doors to push at, we have no option but to trust God because there is literally nothing we can do ourselves.  But when faced with multiple opportunities, the decision of choosing which one to follow became overwhelming.

Why was I overwhelmed?  Because, once again, I was fearful.  This time, I was fearful of making the wrong decision and not walking in God’s best for me.  But our Heavenly Father doesn’t just leave us to sink or swim, He graciously walks with us step by step.  Moments of waiting may rattle us a bit, but we will not miss the will of God if we are truly seeking the will of God.

30th December 2014: “One of the reasons I chose to do the internship was because I didn’t feel like I was making much of a difference while working ‘behind-the-scenes’ in ministry, but interestingly I feel the same way when ‘on the front line’ so I guess it’s a mentality shift I need; to believe that any work for the Kingdom will reap a harvest.  I need to work to my strengths (behind-the-scenes) while not losing the rawness of the front line.”

I have already touched on this in a previous blog but, for me, this was a huge lesson.  I had got caught up in comparing myself to others and missed the fact that God uses us in different ways and places us in different situations because we all have a specific part to play.  There is no ranking system of what work is more “godly”, the work is godly when it is assigned by God Himself and we obediently accept.  Though this lesson felt a little like a reprimand, I was so grateful for God’s grace in teaching me this lesson and using the experience to remind me of the value and worth He has already placed on me and the gifts He personally chose to give to me.

Months and months of reflection and praying were required to fully process and appreciate my time in NYC.  I had left as one person and returned as another, and that is no small thing.  Everyone, myself included, wrongly assumed that I would – and could – just slot back into what had been my norm before I left.  But I no longer fitted there.  Yet where did I fit?  My eyes had been opened, my perspective and focus had shifted, the yearning in my heart to be a world-changer had grown, but I felt increasingly out of place, not knowing just where ‘my’ place was.  I thought it was still in New York…

21st February 2015: “I have been pushing on NYC doors this week but getting nowhere.  Two opportunities seemed exciting at first glance but I had no peace while exploring the possibilities further… I’m frustrated that I don’t know what (the specifics of) my calling are – I want to help people and point them to Jesus.  But where, how and with whom, I do not know.”

In Acts 16 we read about the Apostle Paul’s secondary missionary journey.   The book’s author, Luke, writes about how Paul and his companions were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia,” and “they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” (Acts 16:6-7) Then, “a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:9-10). These verses describe how God guided the men, and illustrates to us how closed doors of opportunity are as important as open ones.  God uses both to steer us and guide us on this great adventure.  Our intentions may be good and honourable, but if it is not God’s best for us, He will kindly stand in our path.  But God is no puppet-master; He allows us freewill and if we choose to ignore His gentle steer, He will sadly allow us to walk right by Him.  Yet when we seek His best, He gladly protects us from anything less than extraordinary!

Perhaps redirection will not come immediately.  Perhaps we will have to remain in the hallway just a little longer.  But when we keep our eyes open and our ears alert to God’s voice, we will soon see the right door standing ajar, and with faith we can walk through it.  Sometimes we would never have made it to the right place if it were not for closed doors stopping us from reaching the wrong place.  What may feel like disappointment at the time, is actually paving the way for something much greater.

It took a further nine months for me to finally accept that the NYC season was over.  God had indeed taken me to the other side, but the season was considerably shorter than I had expected that it would be.  Yet my anticipation for the next season grew, now believing and understanding that God would be true to His word, and if He spoke something over me, it was guaranteed to come to pass.  God taught me many things during that two-year NYC season, but most of all He proved His faithfulness, His protection, His provision, and His timing.

I began to consider other promises God had declared over my life in the past: things He wanted me to do, or places He wanted me to go.  I remembered the crazy dreams He had planted in my heart and the unlikelihood of those dreams becoming a reality.  And yet… Had He not just proved that He is true to His Word?  Had He not just fulfilled one of those impossible dreams of ministering in the greatest city on earth?

From the very beginning, God has been a God of truth.  Genesis 1 records, “God said…” “…and it happened.”  What He speaks, will be.  It will be.  It is not just a suggestion, or an intention, but a fact.  So when God speaks something over your life, claim it!  Believe it!  Remind yourself of it, even when circumstances would suggest otherwise.  Because when God declares a promise over you, nothing will satisfy you until it is fulfilled.

Don’t forget the promises that God once whispered into your heart.  Don’t think that you have missed your opportunity.  Don’t consider yourself not good enough, not holy enough, not young enough, not old enough, not… whatever lies are swirling around your head.  Wait.  Wait well.  Wait with anticipation.  Wait with intention.  Prepare.  Allow yourself to be prepared.  And at God’s appointed time, be ready to just say “yes”.

Don’t misread a delayed response to be a ‘no’ response.  We all have many tasks and roles that God wishes us to fulfil in His name.  Every season, every mountain-top experience, every struggle in the valley is shaping us and preparing us for all that God has for us.  There is no ‘peak’ until we reach heaven.  God always has more.

When our heart is stirred, it reminds us not to settle or become complacent with our current circumstances, instead, it prompts us to continue pressing into Him and all that He has for us.  There are times when God calls us and plants us somewhere for long seasons; we invest in something and journey with those people, that ministry, that local church.  But there are also shorter seasons – middle moments – when God intends for us to only remain there a short time.  The challenge, of course, is identifying the difference, and not using difficulty or discontentedness as a reason to run away.  Our approach to either season should be the same: to remain until God calls us on.

Fortunately, the fulfilment of God’s purposes and promises in our lives are dependent on His faithfulness, not ours.  And what a relief that should be to us!  We are but fallible creatures that make mistakes, no matter how determined we are to walk in His ways.  But the good news is that God knows this about us and wishes to partner with us anyway.  He does not expect us to (or want us to) walk this journey alone. Indeed, it is impossible for us to reach our full potential without His help.  Our effectiveness in doing the will of God is less about our own efforts, and more about how much we depend on Him.

When we anticipate God’s leading in our lives, we often respond in one of two ways.  Either we dive headfirst into an opportunity and find ourselves rushing ahead of Him, or we become overwhelmed and run in the opposite direction.

When we move too quickly, we try to take matters into our own hands, fitting mismatched pieces of the jigsaw awkwardly together in an effort to reach where we perceive the destination to be.  We recognise needs and endeavour to plan and strategise to find solutions ourselves, instead of trusting God to provide in the best and most timely way.  The danger is, of course, that when we fail to find solutions ourselves, fear and doubt creep in.

I relate well to the experience of American Pastor and Writer, Peter Chin: “I have always been an intensely logical person.  In order to have a peace about something, I need to understand it, and be able to mentally justify it to some extent.  And if I can’t do that, I can very quickly lose all hope… and because our circumstances seemed devoid of meaning, a mountain of doubt descended upon me.  I doubted myself and my ability to hear God.  There are moments in life where we cannot begin to comprehend what God is doing because His ways and purposes are so much higher, larger and longer than our own, and understanding such things is a frustrating impossibility. And in those moments, what is more important than comprehension is conviction.  Conviction is the measure of how much we believe something, even when we don’t understand it at all.  It is our ability to have faith that God is up to something, even if we don’t have the slightest idea what that “something” is.”

When our hearts are inclined to seek and do the will of God, He is faithful in showing us the way to go.  He wants us to participate in adventure with us.  He wants to surprise us and demonstrate His miraculous power.  Therefore He is not going to let us miss His careful leading.  It may not come in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, like the Israelites experienced in their journey to the Promised Land, but, like theirs, I believe it will be just as apparent and certain.

God uses many ways to speak to His people; some obvious and others, less so.  But He knows who He is talking to, and will tailor His direction to the one who is meant to hear it.  What is a clear signpost for you, may mean nothing to another, but God’s guidance works hand in hand with our internal spiritual navigation system, the Holy Spirit.  When God speaks and directs, the Holy Spirit within us leaps to respond.  Our conviction – that deep, internal, unwavering certainty that God has spoken – is the secret to living our God-led adventure.  It is this voice that steers us through all of life’s challenges and decisions, seeking to keep us on the path God has placed before us.

At times we doubt we can sense His gentle hand because, in fact, His will is for us to stand still for a time; not to move forward or backward, to the left or to the right.  But God’s call to stand still for a time is just as significant as moving in the direction He points us in.

In his journals, Jim Elliot put it this way: “He will lead you and not let you miss your signs.  Rest in this – it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call, or whatever you want to call it.  It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you… The sound of ‘gentle stillness’ after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate word from God.”  

God’s voice is persistent; it chases us with purpose and longing.  It is the thought that you just can’t shake, the idea that seems far beyond anything you could have dreamt up yourself.  It is the cause that keeps you up at night, knowing you won’t rest until something is done about it.  You may not understand where, when or how you can make a difference, but there is no doubt in your mind that you will act.  That you must act.  “Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” (1 Samuel 10:7)

That is where faith begins its play.  Faith is lived out one step at a time.  Faith is required for you to act after conviction has told you what to do.  We do not know where faith is taking us or what will happen, but we follow, not because we trust ourselves, but because we trust the One who is leading.

I talk often about ‘open doors’, and these opportunities have sometimes been very normal, every-day chances to help someone, take a step forward in my career or ministry, or visit and be inspired by a new city.  But other ‘open doors’ have been incredible opportunities that I could never have expected or planned for myself.  They are once-in-a-lifetime events that simply cannot be passed up.  The one thing they all have in common, however, is the fact that God has cleared a path across these thresholds.  My job was to simply walk through them.

But closed doors are a blessing too.  When things don’t quite work out the way we had hoped, or, try as you might, there are just too many challenges to overcome, these doors swing shut and we are sometimes left feeling discouraged or defeated.  But, when we earnestly seek God’s best for our lives, He will use closed doors to protect us, redirect us, and ultimately make way for something far greater.  His denial of our own desires is always done out of love.  We may not understand or appreciate His actions at the time, but when we learn to trust Him, we surrender all of our wants, our expectations, and our uncertainty too.

 

I recently began adding a request to my daily prayers; “God, surprise me.”  And He has!  But, to be honest, I’m not even sure He is doing anything different to what He has always done.  I believe, by praying these words, my perspective has changed and my expectation has increased.  I now anticipate His surprises; moments that He orchestrates in my normal day that reveal His hand at work in the detail of my life.  These moments vary from personal encouragements, to confirmation of His leading, to participation in conversations that uplift and inspire.

When we live our lives, every single day, in constant anticipation of what God could do; how He could act, what doors of opportunity He could open, and the miracles He could outwork in the very detail of our lives, we soon learn that God is interested in the small things.  He cares about the things that we care about because He loves us.  He wants to enter into every decision and action of our day-to-day existence to reveal to us His care, His love, and His power.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord – who He is and all that He has done for us – we become familiar with His heart and, as we grow closer to Him, gradually the desires of our hearts align with His.  When we commit our ways, our hopes, our future plans to the Lord, we can trust Him with everything.  And He will act on our behalf. (Psalm 37:4-5)

The Biblical character David is one of the most well-known figures in God’s story.  He is often best known for his supernatural defeat over the giant, Goliath (1 Samuel 17).  David later became king of Israel, but his journey from giant-slaying shepherd boy to crowned hero was far from straight forward.

As David’s fame and popularity grew in Israel, King Saul became jealous and his love for David turned to hate.  So much so, that David had to flee from the palace, where he had personally serenaded King Saul with his harp, and run for his life.

The future looked bleak as Saul hunted David.  For years he was pursued, yet he was never found.  When David became discouraged, his best friend (and Saul’s son), Jonathan, was there to remind David of the promises of God: that he would be king over Israel one day.  The Lord’s prophet, Samuel (whom we read about in Adventure Awaits: Beginning the Adventure), had anointed David when he was just a teenager as God’s chosen one to rule His beloved nation.

You see, God had promised that He would take David to the ‘other side’ of this chase, but he needed his faithful friends by his side to encourage him and remind him of just that.  Aren’t godly friends so precious?  We cannot and should not walk this life alone.  Adventure is far more fun with friends, is it not?

God may have allowed David to be hunted by Saul, but God never allowed him to be found.  In his affliction, God’s promise brought David comfort and gave him life. (Psalm 119:50)

While the circumstances that David found himself in seemed dire, the tale, from God’s perspective, was outworking just as it should.  David was living his adventure.  A scary one at times, granted, but no adventure is without risk.  His adventure was one that would prepare him to be king.  It was a journey that tested and built his faith.  An experience that revealed to him who his true friends were, and illustrated the faithfulness of his God.  Though he stared death straight in the face on a number of occasions, David chose to believe what God had said over what he saw around him.  For if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

But there’s a twist to this story.  You see David had the opportunity to take Saul’s life, not once, but twice.  Twice, he had the chance to kill Saul and end this exhausting pursuit.  Twice, he could have ended Saul’s reign and seized the crown himself, knowing it was to be his soon anyway.  But he did not.  

David was chosen by God and crowned as king over Israel because he was a man after God’s own heart.  David possessed the heart of God.  Let’s just take a moment for that to sink in.  Should we not all strive to possess the heart of God?  Gosh, I want that.

And because David carried the heart of God, he understood that to take a man’s life was a sin.  He knew that removing the crown of God’s chosen leader in that season was outside the will of his Father.  It would have made his circumstances far more comfortable, but David did not wish to choose the easy way, he sought to live the right way.  While his soldiers encouraged him to end Saul’s life there and then, David trusted that God would outwork things His way, without David interfering.  The crown would still be his, there was no doubt about that, but he was not going to deceive or manipulate the situation in order to get it.  

We can learn a lot from David’s actions here too.  While we anticipate adventure and the fulfilment of God’s promises in our lives, we must be careful not to anticipate God’s movements or seek to ‘help’ Him to outwork His will.  Instead, we wait, seek Him and what He wishes to say to us, and give Him room to act in His own way and timing.  We must not get in the way, therefore hindering God’s plans and being disobedient in the process.

David had to kill the giant Goliath, put up with Saul’s jealousy and eventually his rage, counteract Saul’s scheming, and continue to do his job as an army Commander.  But the reason he was able to do all these things (and more) was because he knew and understood that God was on his side.

So do you believe that God can and will do what He has said He will do?  Are you claiming His promises in your own life?  Are you entering into the adventure He has prepared for you?

It is not necessary to have a long-term plan.  Plans change, but God remains constant.   Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  So just commit everything to Him and enjoy the present; take it all in.  Embrace what is happening now.  Don’t dream away the weeks, the months, the years.  Resist placing timelines and expectations on God’s promises or, indeed, your own desires. Simply enjoy the now.

There are so many experiences in life to be enjoyed and savoured.  Live life; stop fixating on what you don’t have, and start appreciating what you do have.

There is no need to try so hard to fill the blanks of what God might be saying or doing in your life. He will give you the information you need when you need it; you have no reason to strive. Instead of stressing about what those ‘meanwhile’ moments look like, just enjoy them and rest in God’s ways and timing.  Don’t take on the burden yourself.  God’s will is not a problem to solve; it is a gift to receive at the appointed time.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakuk 2:3)

 

This blogpost is part 8 of a blog series, Adventure Awaits.

Part 1: Created for Adventure

Part 2: Beginning the Adventure

Part 3: Designed for Adventure

Part 4: Essential Tools for the Journey

Part 5: Facing Opposition

Part 6: Embracing Challenge & Change

Part 7: The Waiting Game

Part 8: Anticipating Adventure

Part 9: Packing Light

Part 10: When Adventure Becomes a Habit

Part 11: The Greatest Adventure

9 thoughts on “Adventure Awaits: Anticipating Adventure

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