30/30: Fear. Lion Chasers. Big God.

7 05 2008

A few years back our family was camping right next to woods in rural New Hampshire. After dinner one night, we cleaned up the dishes, put the garbage in a trash bag and walked up to get ice cream. When we returned to our pitch black campsite, we heard a scratching sound in the darkness. We freaked out. All five of us screamed and ran as fast as we could into the pop-up camper. Being the fearless protector of the family, I grabbed two flashlights and went running to the woods. I shined the light everywhere to see this pesky raccoon, but the only thing I saw was our trash everywhere.

That night at 3 AM, I woke to the sound of more scratching underneath the trailer. I unzipped the side to look out and five feet way from me was a black bear trying to get into our cooler. Safe in our trailer, I said “Kathy get up, you’ve got to see this!” The next morning, the kids were mad because I didn’t wake them up to see the bear. But sure enough, when we were eating breakfast who comes strolling into our campsite…our buddy the bear. We scream again and he runs off. There is nothing like camping to live with a sense of adventure.

There was a crazy character named Benaiah who lived his spiritual journey with a sense of adventure. In 2 Samuel 23:22 in the Bible, it says, “on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it.” Our instinct says run away from lion, but what would give him the courage to risk being malled and chase a 500 pound lion into a pit? Normal people avoid adverse, risky and uncertain circumstances. Lion Chasers do what’s counter intuitive. They move toward adverse situations, risky conditions and uncertain outcomes. Because of this act of courage, Benaiah becomes captain of David’s bodyguard (another guy who faced overwhelming odds in a battle against a giant named Goliath).

What gives people this kind of courage? They have this crazy belief that their God bigger than any problem they face. I ran into the forest because I believed that I was bigger than a raccoon. They ran forward because they believed God was bigger than a giant or a lion with sharp claws. They trust God is bigger than any situation, any problem or any challenge that’s in front of them. Lion Chasers know that impossible odds set the stage for amazing miracles. Maybe we don’t see God do miracles in our lives because we are not willing to put ourselves in risky situations where we have to completely trust Him to come through. Christ loves it when we stop depending on ourselves and we are completely dependent on Him to show up. For a Christian this is the only way to live the adventure of following Christ.

How are you living your spiritual journey with Christ? Are you hiding in the trailer? Or are you chasing lions into the woods? If you are hiding in the trailer, maybe it’s time to expand your view of God. Is your view of God bigger than your greatest fear? Is God bigger than your biggest problem? Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Chase the Lion.

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

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