“A-dain! A-dain!” The lisped words of my two-year-old daughter spilled out as she lifted her arms to the blue sky. Waiting with expectation, her delighted squeals of merriment filled the air as her uncle tossed her into the air and caught her.
Again and again.
From a distance, I watched in amused anxiety. Yet, my daughter knew no fear as she flew upwards, hung suspended for a moment in the air, and then dropped into the strong, waiting arms of my brother. She had such complete trust and full love in the one catching her; fear could not gain an entry point.
After a few minutes, my brother’s arms grew tired. He made one last toss and then set my daughter onto the ground. She lifted her arms again in expectation, but he shook his head. “That’s all for now; my arms are tired,” he said, making a funny face and comical motions with his arms. She accepted his explanation, and soon they began another exciting adventure.
My brother’s refusal was not to be mean or unkind to my daughter. It was because he loved her and wanted to keep her safe.
Thinking back to that day, I wonder what I would do if I were in her place. Would I delight in the experience of being tossed repeatedly into the air? Would I claw at the arms holding me and demand to be put back on the ground?
Once securely on my feet, would I get my grump face on and stipulate that all possible problems be solved before I participate? Or if I stepped into the experience, would I demand that it continue, even after being told, “That is all”?
Faith is a mystery and an adventure. There is much that we cannot know. Sometimes, instead of embracing the adventure of faith, we see the mystery as a problem to be solved. We want answers and assurances before we commit to the sacrifice.
But what if we viewed the mystery and adventure with complete trust, confidence, and love in the One who loves us without reservation and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28)? Would faith become the assurance of what we hope for and the evidence of what we do not see?
Living by faith in God requires the willingness to step into the mystery without knowing the answers and embracing the adventure of following the One who is a mystery to some degree. His ways and thoughts are beyond ours (Isaiah 55:9), and “his paths are beyond tracing out” (Romans 11:33, NIV).
Yet, what God reveals to us assures us that he loves us with an everlasting and unfailing love (Jeremiah 31:3). His love is so completeness and without reservation that nothing in this world can separate us from him and his love (Romans 8:39).
As we spend time with Jesus, we can know him better. As we know him better and discover just how much he loves us, our love for him will grow. As our love grows, our capacity to trust deepens. WE are better able to walk forward into the mystery and the adventure of faith. Not because we have all the answers, nor because all the dangers have been mitigated.
Rather, we become child-like in our faith. Instead of fearing the mystery of faith, we can embrace the adventure of walking with Jesus without fear. Full of confidence in his love for us and his faithfulness towards us, we can hold our hands up into the air and declare…
Jesus, I love you. Thank-you for loving me without reservation. Help me to trust you, and to step into the mystery and adventure of faith, knowing you are with me. Amen.