The Great Adventure


High school yearbooks are real treasures. On one hand, they contain photographs and memories of days gone by, but they also point forward in anticipation of what is to come. Many of us remember standing on a stage somewhere, wearing a gown, a silly looking hat with a mortarboard on the top, and a tassel, which never did quite stay where it was supposed to. And as we walked to the principal and received that highly prized diploma, we knew that we had taken the first huge step in an adventure that would carry us toward the unknown.

Looking back, I remember standing on a stage in a navy blue suit, bought from Robert Hall men’s clothiers, seeing my close friends, who would scatter and go to many different parts of the United States, such as Texas, Idaho, California, and even Indiana. We are separated now, except for a Christmas card each year, and an occasional phone call or email, which has become a nice way of staying in touch.

Some of us have passed away. Our valedictorian, Ann Royal, who was utterly brilliant, and who taught English in Cairo, Egypt, perished in a bicycle accident. I have never been able to completely understand, how someone who was so talented, could be lost in just a few moments, dying so young. But, I think of Ann from time to time.

One of the things, which has deeply impressed itself on me, is the need for faith. Faith is more than mere belief. Faith is all about trust. One of my favorite scripture texts is found in the letter to the Hebrews.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval.” (Hebrews 11:1-2 RSV).

I have struggled long and hard with chapter 11 in the book of Hebrews because as I have grown older, and seen so many changes in my life, I now know that the author of this letter was really on to something important. We need faith in order to rise above life’s challenges. And, if we live a while, we know that there are plenty of challenges to go around. There’s a saying attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Roman Catholic nun, who passed away some time in the past five years and who did such wonderful ministry among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, offering them shelter, and dignity in death. She said, “I know that the Bible teaches that God will never give us more than we can handle. I just wish He wouldn’t trust me so much.”

Marriages, divorces, children, losses, whether of jobs, or health, difficult bosses in the work place, financial set backs, are only a few of the challenges which we must rise above. To rise above these things, we need faith! There’s a joke about country music records. “What do you get when you play a country song backward?” (Now, remember, this is old technology, i.e., a stereo-phonograph using records, not compact discs). The answer is , “You get your job back. You get your health back. You get your spouse back. And so on.” All of us face what Mother Teresa has faced (except marriage of course) and more. How can we get through this life as we move toward the next one? The answer is “faith in the Living God.” As Christians, we believe that God is alive, and actively at work in the lives of each one of us. Sometimes that may be hard to see. We may even feel God-forsaken, just as Jesus did on the Cross, when He said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” quoting the 22nd psalm. But, if we read the rest of that psalm, it does not end on a note of despair. Instead, it ends with a resounding note of faith, knowing that God doesn’t abandon us to death and destruction. Psalm 22 says: “From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me. I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:” (Psalm 22:21b-22, NRSV).

It takes a leap of faith to believe that God is alive and at work in our lives. But, that is exactly what we must do: take that leap of faith. If we leap, the One who has loved us from eternity, will be there to catch us. And, all kidding aside, I’d rather trust God, than put my faith in playing a country song backwards! I never was very good at doing that anyway! Isn’t it good to know, that on the great adventure called life, we have a Divine Friend who genuinely does care? God bless you this summer, and keep you safe in the palm of His hand.

The Waynedale News Staff

Reverend Chris B. Madison

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