Does anyone remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? The books were broken into sections, and at the end of each section you had to make a choice. For example, if it was a detective story, you had to make a choice about whether or not you wanted to follow a suspicious looking character. If you wanted to, you turned to page 38. If you didn’t want to, you turned to page 39. I loved those books. They were like video games, except that they were made out of paper, and you didn’t use a controller, and they were actually books.
I wish life were a little more like the The Choose Your Own Adventure series. I wish we had the option of choosing the pleasures and pains that befall us. But we don’t. We follow the adventure that has been laid out for us by our sovereign God. Sometimes the adventure takes us into sweet valleys of rest and quiet. Other times the Lord leads us on a painful adventure over mountains and though deserts. The choice that we must make is how we will respond in the midst of the adventure.
In The Return of the King, when Frodo is lamenting their condition, Sam says the following to Frodo:
We shouldn’t be here at all [Sam says to Frodo], if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually—their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on—and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same—like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into…
When we get to heaven, the Lord will honor and celebrate with those who had many chances to turn back, and yet didn’t. God will honor those of you who have been dropped into a “tale” of suffering, and yet you are not turning back. By faith, you are pressing into the living God and trusting him. You wouldn’t have chosen this path if you’d known about it when you started, but now that you’re on it, you’re not going to turn back. You’re going to honor God during this adventure that we call life.
You won’t be forgotten. The Lord won’t forget your faithfulness.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
+photo by mikebaird