The Difference Is They Said Yes
In recent conversations with my Father, it has become increasingly obvious that He is inviting me on a grand adventure; a silly, delightful, invigorating, larger than life adventure.
I can see him. He's offering His hand out, with a wink in His eye and a smirk that says 'Trust me, Son. We can do this together!'
When I first encountered this invitation I was over the moon! Running back to my wife, explaining the exciting conversation I just had with Jesus... It's not the first time this has happened to our family, but when it does, it usually happens to my wife first - and then she comes running up to me with the story. I sometimes think God is wiser to speak to her first because she has an intimidatingly rock-solid willingness to trust God and then convince me.
However, this time, He spoke to me first.
My initial reaction, as I mentioned, was excitement. Then after a few hours of excitement, my mind turned to doubt. It turned to "reality". I started thinking about what was really "realistic" about this adventure.
I've come to hate the word "realism" because it's not my reality anyway - it's this world's reality. Whereas I am a resident of Kingdom and I shouldn't get caught up in such things.... Nonetheless, realism started kicking in - hard.
Then realism quickly turned its evil head & morphed into something even more ugly & familiar to me - depression. Questions like "Is this really possible for me?" turned into statements like "People like me don't get to have adventures like this... some of them do, I guess, but not me. It will never be me."
Then I'm stuck. Stuck in the "reality of this world" that get so much enjoyment out of the drowning of dreams.
It's hard to move on from this.
The visions of adventure I once had that were tinted in a sort of glorious hue, became desecrated with blotches of self-doubt and self-hatred.
But after a good kick in the pants (from my sweet wife), I started to study the great heroes & adventurers of my own personal walk and faith. Men and woman who have gone through and done incredible things. In many cases, people I've actually met and had the pleasure of fellowshipping with.
Men like Brother Andrew, who adventured during some of the darkest days of modern history. His heart and his passion burned for the Word of the Lord. He loved his connection to the bible and how it brought him closer to God. So the thought of others not having one was heart-wrenching. It was unacceptable. It kept him up at night. So with a fire in his heart, Brother Andrew set off - in broad daylight- with a Volkswagen Beetle stuffed (to capacity) with Bibles translated into Russian. As he pulled up to the then-closed Russian Communist border, which had outlawed Christianity and the bible, He prayed the Lord would blind the eyes of the border police. To my surprise (but probably not Andrew's), the police waved him through with the cliche "Nothing to see here, move along!".
Then there are women like my Mother, who through the invitation of adventure left everything she knew - her country, her family, and her culture - to pursue a life of ministry in a foreign country, spreading the gospel to the far corners of Canada. Since then I have personally bared witness to countless lives changed and rescued through the ministry of my mother and my father.
Through my parent's ministry and my own walk, I have met dozens and dozens of men & women who have done truly great things - people who have snuck slaves through borders, rescued countless child soldiers, healed people from life-threatening diseases, & changed the minds of world leaders; people who have led marches & protests that have pivoted history, who have written songs and praises that still echo in the halls of believers today; people who have sparked revivals and led thousands of people into the Kingdom of God. I have met these men. I have met these women. I have shaken their hands and embraced their hugs. I've grown up hearing their stories.
And even after studying the lives of other heroes, like the young men & women who walked amongst Jesus in the Bible, who got to hang on His every word and watch Him walk on water & literally raise from the dead - even these people are no different than the ones I have already described!
From what I can tell, there is only one thing that separates these men & women from people like you and me:
When invited on an adventure, they said 'Yes' to Jesus... and they never looked back.
They didn't slow their pursuits when the walls seemed to close in around them. They didn't back down. They didn't use the excuse that "God closed the door". They broke the damn door down and ran right through it.
They didn't cower at "the odds". They didn't count the ways it could go wrong. They just did it. In every circumstance - in good faith - they assumed the favor of the Lord was on them ... and they discovered it was.
So here I am. Once again looking up at my Father, His arm outstretched. He's got that smirk on his face again, the one that says "Trust me."
Ethan Fenton is a RootsDeepDown worship leader and one of the founding members of our collective. Alongside his wife, Chelsea, this duo has a passion for writing corporate worship songs for their home church in Cape Breton, NS. Their live RootsDeepDown album, Live At Selah, is due to be released in the Fall of 2017.