into uncharted territory

January 2, 2010

As a child, when we were allowed to wander freely in the vast wildness near our home, it was thrilling. (We lived in the boondocks, so there was plenty of wilderness to explore.) Near our home was a dense dark wind-swept forest that gave way to a deep rugged valley with a wild river wending its way through forbidding marshland. We would fight our way through thick underbrush to the edge of the river, ford it with great trepidation and wander through wild lands no one had ever been before, where wart hogs were surely hiding, waiting to trample us to death. I never understood how my mother would let us wander this pathless wild.

I didn’t know that she could see us from the living room window…hmmm.

Of course the wilderness looks different from the safety of a home. The dark forest was a stand of tall red pines with the breeze whispering through the boughs. Our trudging through thick underbrush was nothing more than a field of Deer Fern one hundred yards from the back door; the deep ravine would not conceal a fully grown man, and the raging river was a creek (pronounced crick) a yard wide and less than a foot deep.

Everything, it seems, depends on perspective, upon the direction and the height from which we are looking, or being looked upon.

Sad Sundays could easily turn into melancholy Mondays. Faithful friends I thought would always be there haven’t been; but new true friends have steeped in at just their right moment, even when they didn’t know how their presence had answered a prayer. We have experienced God’s Grace and Love through many acts of kindness; and the greatest present has been the presence of true partners in life, not just ministry.

We have been humbled, and reminded almost daily of our obligation to return the favor and pay it forward as financial fortune someday comes our way. No! We will pay if forward in grace, love, justice and mercy regardless of fortune of famine.

Looking away from that which we were called can be painful even as we look forward  to which we are now called. Not for the first time we are heading into uncharted territory.  The path is not always clear, but it is always guarded. We could see a deep, dark, deadly journey ahead of us. Or we could see a new adventure right around the corner. We go forward excitedly because we know who goes before us, and we know who goes alongside us;  it helps us gear up for our new adventure with God.

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