Let Us Take the Adventure Jesus Has for Us
7/19/20 Glenda Simpkins Hoffman
I shared recently that I just finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia again. There was a phrase that I noticed was repeated many times from the first book to the last: “Let us take the adventure Aslan has for us.” The context is important, as these words are usually spoken at a time of uncertainty, risk, and even danger. It’s not clear what will happen next or even if the outcome will be positive or whether they will even survive. But there is no going back. The only option is to press on, to move forward with faith and confidence in Aslan, the Christ figure in the stories.
Each time I read the phrase, something inside me was stirred. Perhaps it was because I’m really not much of an adventurer in terms of trying new things or taking risks. And I confess that the stress of dealing with a life-threatening virus, racial issues, and economic crisis (just to name a few) is draining and even discouraging. I suspect I am not alone. But reading these books and encountering this phrase helped me to reframe our current circumstances as an adventure, lifted my spirits, even made my heart sing.
Like the characters in Lewis’s Narnia, we are facing uncertainty and danger with no guaranteed outcomes. We too have a choice—to shrink back in fear or to step out in faith “to take the adventure Jesus has for us.” The question is this: do we really trust King Jesus and rely on his supernatural resources of love, grace, and power to do in and through and for us what only he can do? True faith will lead to action as we step out to allow God to use us as agents in his world. What does that look like?
There is no one way, but I want to suggest four words, really four actions, that require us to live with faith and courage: prayer, care, share, dare. These are concrete actions that express our faith and reliance on the Lord as we take the great adventure of loving the Lord and loving the people, serving the Lord and serving the people.
Prayer: The first step is always prayer. We live in an interactive relationship with God listening to his word and responding in prayer. Today marks the halfway point in the 100 days of prayer and our summer in the Psalms. How is it going? How have you seen God work in your life, family, friends, our church, and the world. How have you experienced God’s presence and help in this season of life? What fruit have you seen God bring forth in your life and relationships? What are you hoping he will do in and through you and in our church in the next 50 days?
Some ways you can actively participate in prayer is by following the devotions on psalms and prayer practices; participating in weekly prayer meeting for the needs of individuals, our church, community, and the world (Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88315549996); and asking God to show you one or two people in your life you might cultivate a deeper relationship with (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors) and pray for them regularly.
I have loved being in the Psalms and coming to an even deeper appreciation that God is with us in every circumstance of life and that we can talk to him about anything. One of the striking features of many psalms is that while they are personal in looking to God for help, there is also a keen awareness of the needs of the wider world. At this midpoint of the summer, we want to continue going deeper with the Lord and in community, but we also want to turn our attention outward and take the great adventure Jesus has for us as we employ the outward actions of care, share, dare.
Care: Each of us is called to love and care for our nearest neighbors. This includes family, friends, work colleagues, and those in our actual neighborhoods. We cultivate genuine relationships by listening, looking for common ground, and being responsive to needs that arise. People experience God’s love through the care of his people.
But there are many opportunities to show love and care and meet real needs even this week through our mission initiatives. Each of us can take the great adventure Jesus has for us by helping to provide 300 bags of love to families in our community that have been impacted by the Coronavirus, distributing chef-prepared meals at the Vienna Park apartments, and supporting efforts to provide clean water for 1,000 people in developing countries. These are tangible acts that change lives. For more information and to sign up to participate in any of the efforts, go to https://viennapres.org/missions/.
Share: Each of us had the privilege of being entrusted to share the good news of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. I was filled with joy on Monday evening when 250 people participated in the Gospel Communication Seminar with Jim Singleton to listen and learn from his teaching. It’s not too late to take this great adventure. View part one by clicking here, and join us on July 20 and 27 at 7:00 PM for parts two and three at this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87063012183
Dare: It takes courage to dare to speak up boldly for Jesus and to stand up for justice. I will have more to say about this in a future post, but this is also an important aspect of the ministry of reconciliation that we have been given.
So are you with me? In these last 50 days of summer are you ready to say, “Let us take the great adventure Jesus has for us”? The Chronicles of Narnia books were written for children about the adventures of children in a land of wonder. But the lessons are for any who have the heart and faith to follow.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3-4). Only children can enter the world of Narnia because they have the faith and humility to see what others cannot.
We too have suddenly landed in a world and circumstances we did not choose or could never predict. There are challenges and struggles to be sure. But with humility, faith, and love, we can live the wonder and mystery of life in God’s kingdom even now. Let’s take the adventure Jesus has for us!