Friday, October 11, 2013

Following God into Epic Adventure

Challenge to a group of missionary kids who recently graduated from high school...


Life is an adventure, and we get to live it to the fullest!

Growing up in the Philippines, I loved following the comic adventures of the intrepid journalist Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy (Milou) as they followed stories and solved mysteries through Scotland, Peru, Belgium, Tibet, America, Bagghar, and elsewhere around the world. This is a guy with an unquenchable thirst for adventure, an inquisitive spirit, and a deep respect for the people he encounters. I recently discovered the musical Tintin: Le Temple du Soleil, based on Hergé’s comic book of the same title and its predecessor Les Sept Boules de Cristal (The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun, respectively), in which Tintin investigates a mysterious curse that causes a group of seven archaeologists to fall asleep and not wake up for anything.

The trail leads him from Belgium to Peru. There, with the help of a young Peruvian orphan named Zorrino, he and his friends find an Inca tribe that has been deprived of an ancient mummy. Not only does the curse end up being lifted, but Tintin uses his creativity to save his own life and those of his friends by means of an eclipse, and Zorrino finds a new adoptive home and family in the Inca tribe.

The musical adds a character named Fleur, daughter of one of the sleeping scientists, who begs Tintin to figure out how to wake her papa. As I listened to their duet (“La Victoire du Coeur”), it struck me how much faith this girl has in Tintin. Her mother has told her Tintin can do anything, and she has no doubt he can find the answer that has doctors baffled. Once Tintin assures her he’s on the case, that’s enough for her. She then spends the rest of the song assuring her mother that Tintin will take care of everything.

How often do we have that much faith in God? Tintin is a fictional character, but so often we forget that God is here to help us with any problem we may have, and He just wants us to ask Him for help. He loves giving us good things, but we often have to ask for them.

When asked who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus had a child come over, and he told his disciples, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:3-5). This involves a faith many people lose when they “grow up” and become cynical. It’s a faith that drives people to trust God completely without any doubt that He will be there for them and take care of their needs. This faith leads people on some of the most amazing adventures, which often prove to be more epic than they could ever imagine.

God has an epic adventure in store for each of us. As MKs, we have already been experiencing them, and a new one is beginning. Whether our parents are in the next room or on the other side of the world, we can always depend on God to guide us through our adventure, and, like Fleur did with Tintin, we can come to God with the faith of a child, knowing without a doubt that He cares and will take it from there.

The Bible has many examples of people who God sent on adventures, which always ended up changing their lives.
Joseph embarked on his adventure at the age of 17 when his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, setting off a chain of events that eventually led to him having more power than he could have ever dreamed and saving his family. 
Moses encountered a burning bush and his life was never the same. He led the Israelites out of Egypt, and they walked across a sea on dry land. They literally saw God provide for them daily.  
Paul’s life and adventure changed in a blinding flash of light on the road to Damascus, and he ended up travelling around the Mediterranean area, encountering all kinds of new cultures, proclaiming the gospel.
Sometimes, our adventure will be dangerous, and we will really need to depend on God for help. The picture on this page is all that remains of the Cagsawa Church in Legazpi, Philippines that was built near Mayon Volcano. On that fateful February day in 1814, the volcano erupted. The terrified villagers ran to the church for shelter, as the raging lava leveled everything in its path. The church was not spared. Lava covered all but the bell tower and parts of the convent, killing everyone inside. Why did God allow that to happen? I don’t know. Did they pray for protection? I don’t doubt it. But in some ways, He did protect them. Their adventures in life came to an abrupt and sad end, but for those who believed in Christ, a new adventure of eternity in heaven began.

Whatever our future holds, each of us has a great adventure ahead, and God is there to lead us as we follow Him.

Best wishes, fellow adventurers, as you follow Christ through this life and the next, and may your adventure be epic!

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