The lesson and the miracle of your great adventure is the transformation God works in YOU on the journey. I’m not even sure the most important thing is getting to the top of the mountain. I think the most important thing is experiencing God’s love and learning to accept and embrace his love and confidence in us, and learning to let the results of our great adventure to rest ultimately in the hand of God…and to be at peace with that.
Continue Reading for the Article / Episode Notes…
Lessons From the Great Adventure: It’s Mostly About YOUR Transformation
(These are our notes for the podcast, for the full content, listen to the audio podcast.)
One of our anchor scriptures is Ephesians [3:20], “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us….”
God is able to do far more than we can ask, think, or imagine… according to the power at work within us.
On the grief journey I still believed God was God, God was able to do anything, God heard and answered prayer. My problem was, I was hard pressed to believe he would do it for me.
I can remember looking at myself in the mirror every morning and cursing my ignorance and blaming myself for the loss of my spouse. It was because I did not do something I should have done. It was because I did not pay attention. It was because I was not forceful enough. It was because I made wrong decisions. It was because I was not spiritual enough. I had not prayed enough. I was not a “good enough” man.
When we face great loss, tragedy, pain, and shifts to our world we respond in one of two ways (and usually in both ways). 1) we blame ourselves or 2) we blame someone else.
It was a long and hard journey of coming to see myself as God’s son. Accepting that this was not my fault, it had nothing to do with God loving me less than he did the other guys I saw who still had their wives, it was beyond my understanding, but it was not because God lacked in his love toward me.
Honestly, I’ve felt this same thing in many other places in my life… it is the trap of comparison.
When the church I led was not growing like others, I vacillated between blaming myself and blaming God. It was because I was unworthy, I had not prayed enough, I had not been faithful enough. It was because God did not love me as much. It was because God wanted to punish me.
When my church was growing and we were seeing great things, then it was the pastor in the next town that asked of himself the same questions.
When I’ve faced set backs, when my children have faced set backs, when my wife needed healing, and now, on this great adventure: When things are hard, when they don’t go the way I want them to go, when it is too hard… it is either my fault, or it is someone else’s fault.
We have to believe that God is ABLE to do far more abundantly than we are even able to ask think or imagine… and then…
We have to believe that God will do it in and through US. I have to believe that God will do it in ME. For me, that is the hard part.
According to HIS power… that is at work WITHIN US.
On our 2016 sabbatical God taught us to TRUST him in new ways.
- We had to relearn that God was TRUSTWORTHY
- We had to re-orient that God did have a plan for US
- And most importantly, I had to embrace God’s love and concern for me.
When the chips are down, when the going becomes difficult, when we face things we do not understand, and we look in the mirror, we see that 4th grader who was (in our memory) too often the goat.
We see the same theme of inadequacy surfacing. We want to quit.
On this journey of building our team of partners and supporters, in the hard places I’ve crafted and rehearsed a narrative of why this was not really God’s will. A story I would tell of how we were following God, but got the details wrong. Sometimes the story involves deleting all social media accounts and getting a job to bridge the next 10 years and just letting go of the push and the challenge.
We do that… all of us do.
We look for exits, we look for escape ramps.
We look for exits, we look for escape ramps. We look for ways to make it someone else’s fault, or to make it God’s fault, or to just make it our own fault and isolate ourselves so we don’t have to face others with our failure.
The great adventure is trying, it is taking risks, it is taking on a mountain that we aren’t real sure we can climb. The great adventure is staking our lives in “either this stuff is true or it isn’t” with a determination to prove it one way or the other.
We’ve literally set out on hiking expeditions to climb a mountain or finish a trail only to discover it took longer than we thought, and not equipped to spend the night or navigate the trail in darkness we had to abort and head back to make it to the trail head before dark. Once we were almost running on the trail because darkness was falling on the mountain.
We have to have faith that we can finish. We have to stay positive and focused and full of faith. But it wouldn’t be a great adventure if we had it in the bag.
We don’t really know if we can make it to the top of the mountain until we stand there… that’s what makes it an adventure.
… according to HIS power that is at work within us…
We are human beings on a journey. Are we going to make it? Only God knows.
When Ezekiel had the vision of standing in the valley of dry bones, in the vision God asked him a question, “Ezekiel, can these bones live?” Ezekiel responded, “God, only you know.”
Then, in the vision, God directed Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, and then to prophesy to the Wind. It was a directive from God.
I will make a declaration of faith based upon what God has directed. I will make a declaration of faith to the Holy Spirit for the work only He can accomplish. The rest is out of my hands.
Will we see the transformation in Africa we hope for… only God knows. We can STAND in the moment, we can prophesy as directed, but the fulfillment of the result is up to God. Will we be failures if we stand on the continent and prophesy to the bones and to the wind and see something different than we hoped?
And what of our journey of raising up a team of partners who will share in this work and harvest? See, there are some thing we control, which is our obedience, there are some things only God controls.
Again, as we have anchored in so many times, it is with sincerity of heart that we obey. We are sincere in our faith. (Psalm 25 / 2 Timothy 1).
Our great adventure is such. All we can do is obediently declare the directives of God. And then — I have to know, it is “according to HIS POWER that is at work with us.
You believe God answers prayer… but do you believe he will answer your prayer?
You believe God provides… but do you believe he will provide for you?
You believe God empowers and makes a way for His will to be accomplished… but do you believe God will partner with you?
This is the lesson and the miracle of the great adventure. I’m not even sure the most important thing is getting to the top of the mountain. I think the most important thing is experiencing God’s love and learning to accept and embrace his love and confidence in us, and learning to let the results of our great adventure to rest ultimately in the hand of God…
… and to be at peace with that.