In his book, Just Courage, Gary Haugen tells the story of when he, his brothers and his dad decided to go hiking near and around Mt. Rainer. On this particular day, Gary decided that he did NOT want to hike any further than the Visitor’s Center just off the parking lot. His dad tried to coax him up the mountain and warned him that it would a long day hanging around the Center, but Gary insisted that he wanted to remain in the comfortable, warm, carpeted Visitor’s Center. Within a few hours the interesting Visitor’s Center suddenly became very dull. The videos on Mt. Rainer became boring after the sixth or seventh time through, the air began to feel stuffy and Gary began to miss his Dad and brothers.
After the longest afternoon of his 10-year-old life, Gary’s dad and brothers returned to the Visitor’s Center flushed with their triumph. Their faces were red from the cold, and their eyes were clear with delight. They were wet from the snow, hungry, dehydrated and had glorious stories of an unforgettable day on the mountain.
As we enter the season of Advent and soon into 2015, I wonder if some of us are “stuck in the Visitors Center” when we look at our Christian lives. We believe we are traveling with Jesus, but we are somehow missing the adventure. I want to encourage you (and me!) to remember that our heavenly Father knows where the real joy is, and is the creator of real and lasting joy. We can confidently follow him up the mountain! Haugen writes, “In different times and in different ways, our heavenly Father offers us a simple proposition: Follow me beyond what you can control, beyond where your own strength and competencies can take you, and beyond what is affirmed or risked by the crowd. – and you will experience me and my power and my wisdom and my love.”
Looking forward to the adventure with you!