Don’t Forgo the Adventure

Atop the Lassen Cinder Cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Atop the Lassen Cinder Cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

The last few hikes (not to mention a kayak trip) I’ve taken have somehow turned into adventures.  Some of it was my own fault; I should have researched the route better.  But sometimes we knew what we were getting into – we just didn’t expect climbing sheer cliffs, slipping in mud, fallen trees, and so on and so forth.  While surprises are fun, that kind of adventure wasn’t in the plan for the day.

Kayaking on Black Creek near Churchville, New York
Kayaking on Black Creek near Churchville, New York

It made me think again about the way I research and plan hikes.  Sometimes it was a simple reality that I should have research more thoroughly before recommending a trail.  Or that maybe we could have prepared better for the hike (a flashlight for hiking 3 hours in the dark, maybe?)  Some of my hiking group members were definitely thinking down the line of, “Lessons learned for next time…”

Snow on scree near Ibantik Lake, High Uintas, Utah
Snow on scree near Ibantik Lake, High Uintas, Utah

But for me, while I’m all for learning how I can do better next time, I realized that I’ve slipped into the comfort of all-inclusive trail reviews online, easy hikes with great views out west, and the general idea that if there is a trail then it’s doable.  I was surprised because I wasn’t trying to have an adventure.

Chilling in Colorado's highest named pass located in White River National Forest
Chilling in Colorado’s highest named pass located in White River National Forest

Yet adventure followed me even when I didn’t follow after adventure.  In some ways it’s a comfort – I can still go on an adventure and laugh at the end (and middle) of it.  In other ways it made me wonder: Can I ever escape adventures?  Do I even want to escape from the harder parts of adventures?

Rock formations at the very rural Valley of Dreams, New Mexico
Rock formations at the very rural Valley of Dreams, New Mexico

It can be easy to become comfortable in our faith, just like it can be easy to become comfortable with easy trails.  We pray, we read our Bibles, we go to church.  It’s not that our faith becomes lukewarm, per se, but we’re not living in the adventure of God – only in the barest reality of salvation.

Skyline Divide Trail, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington
Skyline Divide Trail, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

My sister wrote a song a number of years ago that goes something like,

You take my dreams

Dreams birthed by You

You give them wings

And there’s nothing You can’t do…

But it’s not walking with You

Unless

We’re on an adventure

Together*

Exploring The Den slot canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Exploring The Den slot canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas

What she captured in this song is the idea that walking with God isn’t just about being saved.  It’s about an adventure – an adventure where we don’t necessarily know what’s next or where God will take us.  It’s John 3:8 – “The wind blows wherever it pleases… So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

A very snowy Mono Pass, Inyo National Forest, California
A very snowy Mono Pass, Inyo National Forest, California

When we’re walking closely with God, we’re on an adventure.  Chances are even if we don’t seek out the adventure, the adventure will seek out us.  “Adventures in Faith” might be a better description of life with Jesus than we want to admit.

Squeezing through a tunnel on the Queen's Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Squeezing through a tunnel on the Queen’s Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Sure, there are the mundane, everyday things to do.  The trash needs to be taken out, the laundry needs to be done, unhappy people need to be loved, the morning commute still needs to be negotiated.  But even those can become an adventure with God if we will let Him into them.  I was mowing the lawn earlier this summer and God began speaking to me clearly about a situation we were going through.  Even mondane chores don’t have to be boring!

Exploring Hopkins Chocolate Cave, Lava Beds National Monument, California
Exploring Hopkins Chocolate Cave, Lava Beds National Monument, California

We can choose comfort, consistency, and safety in our spiritual lives.  We can also choose to let the adventures come when God’s ready for them.  Or in the words of another song,

Questing in faith and hope

Can’t help but look for adventure

My arms are outstretched wide

By natural or supernatural

Reality and miracles collide

My God’s got this journey

We all call life…**

Snow on Table Mountain, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington
Snow on Table Mountain, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

That doesn’t mean that we don’t use common sense.  I still take far more water on hikes than I think I’ll need.  But I’m also not opposed to the adventure.

* “Adventure” by Wheels of Glory!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua2JmLpWSP0

** “My Father’s Child” by Wheels of Glory!

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