The term “God Adventure” sounds kind of intriguing and exciting, doesn’t it? Even a little mysterious! If you have an adventuresome spirit, just those words may make you want to explore what a God adventure is – learn more about it!
A “God Adventure” could be following God’s leading to take a new job. It could be a missions trip or a move to a new city. Maybe you’re actually going to commit to leading a Bible study at your church or reach out to a needy family in your area. How about working on reconciling a broken relationship with a family member or friend?
Not all God adventures are so positive or encouraging. Sometimes a God adventure comes your way uninvited and unexpected. It can come in circumstances that involve loss, unfair treatment, illness, or broken relationships. These are the wilderness places that God uses to shape, refine, and carve character into us, if we’ll let Him. The process is so painful, but the result is pure gold.
Some dear friends of mine, a married couple, have been through this recently. A cancer diagnosis brought surgery, radiation, doctors, doctors, and more doctors. Pain, loss, rehabilitation, fear and uncertainty.
Who’d sign up for that? But, now let me tell you what I saw this “wilderness” produce in their lives …a sense of God’s presence that over-rode all the circumstances, a trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness (which is never really fully experienced until you find yourself in the furnace of affliction); a deeper love and appreciation for each other as a couple; and peace, real peace, in the midst of the storm.
They were not delivered from the experience, they were lifted above it and carried through it. Isaiah 40:31 outlines the promise of God to those who are walking through trials.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (NKJV)
The Bible is filled with the stories of great men and women of faith, and almost all of them had one or more defining wilderness experiences that God used to prepare them for even greater use. My favorite is the story of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongly accused by the wife of his employer, thrown into jail for something he didn’t do, and seemingly forgotten by those he had helped. In all of this, a span of 13 years, the Bible never once records that Joseph complained or railed against the Lord. Read this amazing story yourself – Genesis 37 through 47. Through his years in the wilderness, Joseph learned humility, obedience, patience, and responsibility. In God’s perfect timing, he became ruler over all of Egypt delivering the Egyptians and his own family from the famine in the land.
How can you turn your wilderness into a God adventure? For starters let this scripture sink deeply into your heart and mind – Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJV)
ALL things – even your trials and afflictions.
Give them to God with a sense of anticipation. You are being refined – prepared for something. Look for the lessons.
Surrender your “rights,” your arguments, and your confusion to Him. God never makes mistakes.
Rest in Him – climb up into his lap and let Him refresh you with His strength.
Trust His timing – He’s got it all together. Jeremiah 29:11 says this,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
Stay close to Him and watch your wilderness become a God adventure!
Are You in the Belly of a Big Fish?
by Fred Alberti, crosswalk.com
But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Being a homeschool family we sometimes have some rather interesting experiments that we get to enjoy as a family. George is one such experiment. George is a goldfish whose bowl-mate sadly perished. My son’s task was to teach the goldfish to come to the top of the bowl when he tapped on the glass. After several weeks of tapping and feeding and tapping and feeding the fish finally learned to come to the top of the bowl.
Big deal right? Right, that is until the fish started to do more. Anytime someone would walk by the bowl he would get all excited and start moving his mouth like he was yelling at whoever it was that was walking by the bowl. This became rather normal and we would just ignore him or comment that he was yelling at us in Spanish.
Then one day my kids were listening to an FFH song titled “Big Fish.” It was then that George decided to really show off what he could do. When the song played George would begin to swim around like he was dancing in the water and would seemingly move his mouth to the words (move over Ashlee Simpson).
I particularly like the first verse of the song which goes like this:
Are you in the big fish
Are you sitting in the belly of a world gone mad
Have you turned your back in His wish
On His will for your life, have you made Him sad
Do you want to get out of the big fish
Listen to God and follow His plan
And you won’t be part of the main dish
He’ll spit you out on to dry land
I’ve sometimes felt like I was in the belly of a big fish. I had decided to do something my way instead of first seeking the Lord’s guidance and leading.
You, whoever you are, God has a plan for your life. Maybe you feel like you are wasting your time at a dead-end job. Or perhaps you have no job but would desperately like one. Maybe you think you have the dream job but the Lord has been speaking to you in a still small voice to give it up for something else. Like Jonah, you may not particularly like the mission God has for you but He has the intention of making you ideally suited to carry that plan out.
Will you follow His plan or will you turn your back?
Maybe you’ve already chosen to turn your back and feel that there is no way out now. If that is the case I’ve got good news for you. The Bible has this to say about Jonah, “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God” (Jonah 2:1). God is the God of second, third, and fourth chances.
Commit your way to the Lord today.
The Lord Appeared to Isaac – Streams in the Desert – January 15
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
And the Lord appeared unto Isaac the same night (Genesis 26:24).
“Appeared the same night,” the night on which he went to Beer-sheba. Do you think this revelation was an accident? Do you think the time of it was an accident? Do you think it could have happened on any other night as well as this? If so, you are grievously mistaken. Why did it come to Isaac in the night on which he reached Beer-sheba? Because that was the night on which he reached rest. In his old locality, he had been tormented. There had been a whole series of petty quarrels about the possession of paltry wells. There are no worries like little worries, particularly if there is an accumulation of them. Isaac felt this. Even after the strife was past, the place retained a disagreeable association. He determined to leave. He sought change of scene. He pitched his tent away from the place of former strife. That very night the revelation came. God spoke when there was no inward storm. He could not speak when the mind was fretted; His voice demands the silence of the soul. Only in the hush of the spirit could Isaac hear the garments of his God sweep by. His still night was his starry night.
My soul, hast thou pondered these words, “Be still, and know”? In the hour of perturbation, thou canst not hear the answer to thy prayers. How often has the answer seemed to come long after the heart got no response in the moment of its crying — in its thunder, its earthquake, and its fire. But when the crying ceased, when the stillness fell, when thy hand desisted from knocking on the iron gate, when the interest of other lives broke the tragedy of thine own, then appeared the long-delayed reply. Thou must rest, O soul, if thou wouldst have thy heart’s desire. Still the beating of thy pulse of personal care. Hide thy tempest of individual trouble behind the altar of a common tribulation and, that same night, the Lord shall appear to thee. The rainbow shall span the place of the subsiding flood, and in thy stillness thou shalt hear the everlasting music.
Tread in solitude thy pathway,
Quiet heart and undismayed.
Thou shalt know things strange, mysterious,
Which to thee no voice has said.
While the crowd of petty hustlers
Grasps at vain and paltry things,
Thou wilt see a great world rising
Where soft mystic music rings.
Leave the dusty road to others,
Spotless keep thy soul and bright,
As the radiant ocean’s surface
When the sun is taking flight.
–(From the German of V. Schoffel)