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The Adventure of Life

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing," said Helen Keller. "Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure." I could not agree more! Nevertheless, I have met many people over the years who have thought that religious people of faith live rather boring, even mundane, lives. From my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.

By its very nature, there is something that faith requires of us that pushes us out of our comfort zone into life's great adventure. Trusting the Lord's hands with the uncertainty of our future requires us, in many ways, to take our hands off the steering wheel of life. The great adventure comes in the unexpected moments of life when, either through circumstances beyond our control, or through decisions of our own making, life takes a turn that we did not see coming.

Recently, I celebrated my 42nd birthday. One of the many unexpected turns in my life showed up when I entered active-duty chaplaincy less than 3 months before I turned 40. I had been a pastor for 15 years prior and had every expectation of investing the next 20-30 years of my life that way as well. All that changed the day I sensed this strange but very clear calling to pursue active-duty Air Force Chaplaincy. I had become very familiar with His divine whispers over the years and knew that this was a prompting from Him and not my own thought.

In the Hebrew writings, book of Proverbs, it reads, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." While the path is far different than I expected it is has been very straight. Time and time again, I see God show up in circumstances that have been clearly marked by His Divine intervention. Most often, the Lord shows up when I least expect it, in those "random" meetings or "chance" encounters, putting me face-to-face with people I could not have found on my own. Nevertheless, I believe that I am here, hand-selected by God to help!

While this all may seem a little mystical for some, it really isn't. Rather, it is the great adventure that we find over and over again whenever we choose to embrace a life of faith. I see God as a grand weaver who weaves our lives together in a beautiful way. Daily, we see only the thread; God sees the bigger picture. Over time, we see only the bottom, messy and tangled; God sees the top, a beautiful tapestry in the making. So whatever faith tradition you are part of, let me encourage you to dive in! Don't play it safe in the shallow end. Commit yourself. Take the risks that faith and trust require. In the end, you'll discover that the life of faith is, after all, a daring adventure!