“Lord, I Want The Adventure…or Do I?”

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

Recently, I have been in a spiritual funk. I know, the word “funk” is not very technical but it’s hard for me to fully explain what I’m dealing with. After years of drawing closer and closer in my walk with God, I suddenly have come upon a new period of “wilderness,” of testing. I admit this one caught me off-guard. I wasn’t ready for it. I thought that I would just continually move towards knowing the Lord better, praying for Him to make me a warrior for Him and that all would be hunky-dory. So, when suddenly my prayers felt distant and my time in the Word felt hollow; when my finances were less than my bills; when fasting produced little immediate results, I did what any self-respecting “warrior” for God would do: I panicked. I freaked out. I became fearful and began to doubt my ministry, my calling, my heart, my relationship with God, pretty much everything. I began to look for ways to take matters into my own hands. My family needed more finances so, surely, God would want me to look for a 2nd job, right? Hmmm…..maybe….but not if He wanted me to learn more about walking with Him in faith when things aren’t certain. Not if the Enemy began to notice that I’m truly serious about being God’s man and began a more aggressive campaign against me than ever before.

But, I want to be a warrior! Or, do I? I want to be in the adventure, God! Or, do I? I want to forego the mediocre life of religion and follow you into the wild unknown, Father! Or, do I? Do I, really? I think I do until times like this happen and the world seems dark and I cannot hear Him and I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future and I wonder how I’m going to feed my children or pay the light bill or……(sigh)…until things get hard. I’m quite the warrior, eh?

Every great story has conflict, tension, trouble. Without that, the story wouldn’t be very interesting, would it? I mean, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, if Frodo could have just marched right up to Mt. Doom, dropped the ring in the lava and went home to the Shire, that would have been far less interesting than the adventures he had. If Rocky could have gotten his title shot against an old, fat, boxer who couldn’t throw a punch anymore instead of the formidable Apollo Creed, there wouldn’t be much to watch, would there? In Les Miserable’s, if Jean Valjean could have just lived a normal life instead of constantly being hounded by Javert, where would the adventure be? The same goes for the story God is writing in our lives. There must be conflict, tension and hardship for the story to be compelling. Author Dan Allender calls these moments “inciting incidents”. I love this line from his book, To Be Told: “And inciting incidents will always intensify our desire to listen to what the story is telling us—unless the inciting incident happens in our own story. Often, when it occurs in our life, we want the story to be resolved and the problem solved—and quickly! We love stories as long as they happen to someone else.”

Isn’t this so true? It is, for me at least. I love the IDEA of being a warrior for God….of being part of a great adventure against the forces of evil that work against all that is good in our world. I WANT to be that man. But, when hardship hits me right where I live, I falter. I shrink back. I waffle. And I hate that about myself. I love a good story, except when I’m in the middle of it. Then, fear rears its ugly head and I struggle.

But, let me tell you something. I’m not going to quit. I am not going to settle for the ho-hum life of pew-sitting religion. I’m not going to stay down under the barrage of spiritual ballistics being sent my way. I’m going to keep praying, keep fasting, keep reading the Word and someday I believe God will mold me into the true warrior I want to be. I believe this because He needs more warriors. He needs more of us who strive with our hearts to face the fears that life throws our way. He needs warriors who hang in there in the face of adversity, believing that He will bring in the cavalry when we need it most, even when all seems lost. He needs men and women like the ones we see at “Helms Deep” in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The warriors who knew they were outnumbered and were destined to fall to a stronger enemy. Those brave souls who were tempted to lose heart as they saw the battle going against them. Yes, the same warriors who fought anyway. The ones who decided that, if they were going to go down that they might as well go down fighting. But, remember, just as they prepared to swing their swords for the final time…..just as all hope of victory faded before them, the white wizard Gandalf appeared on the mountains above them…and he was not alone. The cavalry had arrived and thousands of soldiers swooped down from the side of the mountain into the fray, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I LOVE that scene.

But, that would have never happened if the warriors who were holding Helms Deep had given up and surrendered. Had they lost hope and lowered their swords, all would have been lost.

So, I’m going to keep battling. Not because I’m trying to be a hero but because I want to be God’s man, even when I don’t like how that feels. Even when it means hardship and uncertainty. Even when it means facing the unknown and risking failure. I just cannot go back to lukewarm Christianity. My heart won’t allow it. And, so, even when discouragement pulls at my soul like a parasite, stealing my courage and threatening to empty my heart into despair, I must keep fighting and look to the Lord to sweep down off his mountain, with His angels at his side and believe that He will bring victory out of what I feel is a sure defeat.

He has done it before, you know, for all of us…on a lonely hill called Golgotha. On a day when Satan must have believed he had won and that he had condemned the human race to sure destruction. On that fateful Friday when he nailed the hands and feet of the Lord to a tree, he must have thought victory was his. Until the 3rd day….

So, dear reader, I cannot say all is well with me. I cannot say that I will go home and my checking account will suddenly be full. I cannot say I am not afraid. I can only say I’m going to keep fighting and have faith that God will show up. My hope is that you will take up that same banner and stay in the fight. If you have lost heart, I pray you will find the courage to keep going. If you have been wounded in the battle, I pray the Lord will tend your wounds and that you will fight on. And, I implore you, if you believe the fight is done, remember Helms Deep…or, better yet, remember the Cross. Victory will come for those who hold out to the last.

So, Lord….I really do want the adventure, even when it hurts. And, because I do, I’ll keep fighting until you bring in the cavalry, or should I say Calvary?

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