Looking for adventure?
The extraordinary life?
Victory in the battle between good and evil?
Too often, in my mind’s eye, victorious glory comes in a flash of brilliance–my cape unfurled behind me, whipping in the wind as I rescue the weak, forlorn, and distressed. Godliness descends upon me, enveloping me with radiant grace, blessing anyone in a 25 foot radius. Sanctification flows through me as I ooze godly wisdom, taking all the credit. Mom always said I had a flair for the dramatic.
In reality, I can’t find my cape, mostly because I don’t have one and, even if I did, it would likely be lost in the dirty laundry and stained with peanut butter. Attempts to make my victorious adventure happen fall flat or worse and, too often, I am desperate to wring some scrap of godly wisdom out of my world-stained brain to try to cover over the other things oozing out of me, of which I want to take no credit whatsoever.
Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel searched for their victorious adventure and were often faced with a choice – trust in and wait on the Lord, being faithful to do the last thing He told them or either give up or make their own adventure. Inevitably, when Israel chose the latter two, consequences were disastrous – plagues, famine, war, and LOTS of death and destruction.
In Joshua 6, the Israelites, after decades of trudging through the wilderness, stood before the insurmountable walls of Jericho. God said, “Here it is! I have given you the whole thing–city, warriors, and king. It’s all yours. Just march silently around these walls once a day for six days and on the seventh day march around the walls seven times and then yell and play your instruments” [my paraphrase, in case you were unclear.] God did not ask for their opinion or approval. He expected complete and unwavering obedience in the face of an outlandish plan that made no earthly sense.
What if they had taken matters into their own hands and attacked? What if they had quit marching on day six? They would have cheated themselves out of God’s CERTAIN victory and their abundant blessing.
Striving to produce my elusive (or rather, delusional) victorious adventure results in me missing the extraordinary adventure of today. The sun’s rising, the uninhibited smile from one of my children, a bathroom well-cleaned all point to the miraculous victory of my Heavenly Father. Inviting someone to church, praying with my daughter’s physical therapist, or bringing a meal to a friend are all part of the adventure of this extraordinary life. Finding comfort and exhortation in the pages of Scripture, turning from the distracting lures of the world, answering gospel questions from an inquiring soul–these are the daily victories that my Victor brings to grow His kingdom and glorify Himself.
I’m finding that the extraordinary life doesn’t happen in a dramatic flash of brilliance, but in the slow, steady ticking of the clock. Adventure isn’t something on the horizon, but something to be lived today. Victory isn’t determined by daily battles, but in the war already won by our Extraordinary, Adventurous, Victorious Savior. And my life…it’s already extraordinary…just the way it is.
Where can I find victory, adventure, and the extraordinary life today? In faithfulness. He’s given me my orders. Most days look ordinary. Fix breakfast. Be faithful. Load and unload the toddler from her carseat multiple times to drive children to their own adventures. Keep going. Conversations where hard things are said and received. Put one foot in front of the other. All the while looking to my Extraordinary Savior.
Our extraordinary is in the ordinary. Our joy is in God’s presence as we maintain routines, rhythms, and cycles. Our adventure is in the healthy flow of life — the happy, sad, warts and all. Our victory is in the sustaining, not the accomplishing. Our extraordinary adventure of the victorious life isn’t a flash of brilliance, but in the slow, faithful building of the beautiful mundane for the glory and pleasure of God. Such riches last longer and reach farther than any grand thing I could ever concoct in my finite mind and satisfy far greater than any superhero’s cape I might pull out of my dirty laundry. Who knows, but that the next little nose that I wipe might be what brings down the insurmountable walls of my Jericho.