Every time I hear my wife say “It’s an adventure” I know what she is really saying is “John, just calm down – things will be ok even though you do not know how this will turn out.” She is right. I don’t seem to appreciate the journey as much as she does. Of course, some might say I miss out on many positive things in looking at things that way.
A number of years ago I found myself in the middle of such an adventure. It took place during a Father’s Day camping weekend with my brother and sister-in-law. Both families also had children along. Since I had to work half a day, we left about noon to get to the campground about 190 miles away.
We arrived at the state park and found our reservation in one of the over 400 campsites most of which appeared to be occupied. And the adventure began. We started to set up our campsite and discovered a number of carpenter ants had decided to take up residence in our folded tent. Of course, the ants decided to bring their families and eggs and whatever else they travel with. In addition, doing what ants do, the corner and one side of the tent reminded me of Swiss cheese.
I could already feel my anti-adventure attitude forming. But what we were going to do? We cleaned off all the ants and eggs and other yucky stuff on the tent. We covered the side of the tent with one of the many tarps I insist we bring along no matter the weather forecast. (Rain is another adventure I find less than exciting.) And we got on with the weekend.
About then, our four-year-old son and his cousin decided to find their own way between our campsites. They were gone for sometime. We tried not to panic but the picture of those two happily wandering around with no idea they may be lost did have result in a rise in our blood pressure. Eventually the two of them showed up wondering what the fuss was all about.
Saturday came and our son spent the day falling. By the end of the day, his knees and face were bleeding. Just part of the adventure I was told. It did look as though the poor kid was not watched too closely by his parents. But aside from needing to clean up the cuts and scratches, things went ok. But not much of an adventure for my son.
Then came Father’s Day. I was sent to walk the dog down to the lake as my daughters prepared a special breakfast for me. After about 20 minutes one of my daughters came running down the trail and shared with me that my other daughter had managed to burn a little hole in the side of the screen tent as they were attempting to start the Coleman stove.
As I ran back to our camp, I had completely lost any ability to buy into this as a weekend full of adventures. I knew that my daughters had only been trying to make a special breakfast for me. But when I determined from the location of the burned hole, that the flame had probably flared right over my daughter’s head, I sort of lost it. I thought that this was a lost weekend and not an adventure of any type.
Well, we packed up our hole-filled tent, dumped the now charred screen tent into the trash and headed home to open my Father’s Day gifts as they had been forgotten at home. The kids unpacked the van to give me a break and we opened the gifts. A better ending than I expected to our “adventure” weekend.
Until the next day when I came out to get everyone into the van and start our routine drop offs at school and work. It was then I discovered that the kids had not locked the van and someone helped themselves to our radio. And they were not too careful in removing it. Enough said; adventures are for the birds – or ants.
I was sure that if God was around during that weekend, he certainly must have been napping. How could a loving God let all of those things happen, especially to a family who trusted in him and believed that Jesus had died for all of their sins?
To me I was telling God that he did not know how to take care of me and my family. If I was in charge, things would have turned out a lot better. Now, when I look in the mirror I never see God. And I know that he would never become an alcoholic or fall short in so many other parts of life as I have.
Sometimes I still forget that the God of the Bible is truly God, the only God there is. It is his world and I am his creation – not the other way around. I also forget that he has me in the wisdom and power department. I read in Isaiah 43:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
That weekend was filled with time of difficult times and even danger. It was not what I wanted. God’s promises in Isaiah were not broken. Though it seemed tragedy was close, we were still in his hands. His job was to love and protect. My job was to trust. Who did better?
Now the most important thing I forgot. Earlier I said that I and my family believed that Jesus died for all our sins and paid what we could not pay. God was ready for my doubting in that area too with the following promise from Romans 8: He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
What a loving Savior! As he hung on the cross he knew that on a certain weekend I would question his love for me – and yet, out of love he did stayed there. He took the punishment because he knew no human could pay for their own sins.
I know I have more challenging times coming in my life. But knowing my Savior is right there next to me, they are truly just adventures.
Come back to see how Jesus leads me. I will wait you.