Consider me an observer. I watch the world around me, take it in, and ponder the reality of its’ existence. The stars proclaim majesty! Each sunset is a fresh, new, unbelievable painting. Flowers in all of their shades of color scream beauty from the dirty soil that they sprout up from; something beautiful from dirt, something seen as messy and inconvenient (by my mother anyways). Have you ever been near the edge of a forest during a sunrise? The bright, radiant, streaks of light that beam through the woods with the beginnings of a new day, calling one forth to embark upon its’ journey, to wonder a little farther into the woods to see what lies ahead? And what about the brilliance of snow; unique, pure-white, snow-flakes falling by the millions upon the ground to allow children (and myself) the joy of packing snowballs and throwing them at their friends (or parental figures). If I had to choose just a few words to describe the world that we walk, live, and breathe in each day, I would choose, “awestruck adventure.”
Why is it then that much of modern-day life seems so mundane, contrite, tiresome, and void?
Have you ever asked yourself the question as to why the great action-packed movies of adventure and triumph, such as The Dark Knight, Inception, Braveheart, Lord of The Rings, etc. has such a powerful draw and allure to draw you and your friends in for hours of movie-marathons and late-night screenings that beg to question your sanity?
I believe the reason that you and I are so drawn in by the concepts found within the aforementioned movies and many other exciting books, TV shows, etc. is because they are chalk-full of adventure and our lives are simply lacking it.
But why? Why would our lives lack adventure if the world around us is shouting “awestruck adventure” at the top of its’ lungs?
I believe it is because we are scared. Courage is not seen as a healthy characteristic these days, as its’ nearest connotation is foolishness and the disregard for safety and security, our modern-day idols. Yes, safety and security can become idols, especially if we are willing to place our safety and security above the Gospel. Consider this, if I am unwilling to walk into a neighborhood known for its’ gang-activity in order to minister to people in need there, then I am guilty of deeming self-preservation, and my own safety, as more important than reaching my fellow men and women with the truth they need to hear and be actively touched by via loving actions, etc. And to be honest, I’ve been guilty of this many times.
Did Jesus and His disciples run when the Roman soldiers came to arrest them? Nope. Peter took his sword and was ready to fight; actually cutting the ear off of one of the people attempting to take Jesus, whose words were, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11) Awestruck adventure. Talk about an action-packed lifestyle, one of living fearlessly for a King worth dying for.
Up until now, I have never been a Lord of the Rings fan, but upon viewing The Hobbit, I have a new appreciation for the epic tails of adventure. My fascination with it lies within the life of Bilbo Baggins, “The Hobbit”. His constant desire at the beginning of the movie is to be within the warm comforts of the shire. The shire is where generations of his beings have grown up in the safety of beautiful meadows and plentiful surroundings. I would potentially equate the shire to the safety of home, such of my growing up in the comfortable suburban area of Johnson County. But Bilbo does not become a hero, with a tale worth being told, until he is willing to lay safety and security aside, and to follow Gandolf out into the broken world to seek justice! (What do ya know? It’s Biblical!)
The danger is real and the fear that follows is there as expected. But courage is born when just action takes place despite fear being present, extinguishing fear’s ‘power’.
We are surrounded by a world that is broken. There is no ignoring the fact that there is evil present in the world and that the world is certainly a dangerous place. But what do we do? Shall we lie in wait for the fearful world to break down our doors and to take our life and our freedom? Shall we remain a people paralyzed by fear, as the enemies of God so greatly desire; rendering us as ineffective witnesses? I certainly hope not.
Now, I have never been one to be described as brave. I am terrified of snakes, spiders, and anything creepy-crawly. I am not a huge fan of the dark, even as a young-adult. And yet, I know that living in fear is simply not an option. It can’t be. It’s not really living. It’s accepting death; a life without life.
I believe it is time for us to take after Baggins’ heroic decision to leave the safety of familiarity and to embrace a lifestyle worth living; one of total and complete surrender to the will of God, whatever that may be for our individual existence. Have we forgotten the God that we serve? The one that said to Joshua, after the death of Moses, as he took over the leadership of Israel, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Life often boils down to a choice between two things; ourselves or God. Worship the safety and security of ourselves, or worship God? Live fearfully, or find boldness in The King? Sin or Righteousness? Death or Life?
The choice is yours. You can live the life that most will; one void of excitement and surrounded by comfort, or you can lay it all aside, choosing courageous action for the Gospel. You can become part of the fraternity of men and women that have chosen to live life as the “awestruck adventure” that it is meant to be.