The book in front of me had all the appearance of a treasure chest. Worn leather binding and tarnished gold-stamped lettering compelled me to open and to enter another world. This book from my father's library would take me to the sands of Arabia, to a time buried in history, to the inner workings of a stranger's heart and experience. With my mind thus occupied, I embarked on the perfect adventure. At this point in time, I was ten years old.
Long before I reached the age when I could experience adventure of my very own, I had lived many such lives through the pages of books. From the Limberlost to the moors, my feet had kept in step with one mysterious character after another. Their journeys became mine. Their terrors gripped my own heart. Their tears filled my eyes. At the end of each book, I breathed a deep sigh. I found myself both satisfied and wanting more.
That sweet mystery of life beckoned to me even earlier, before I was old enough to read. Banished to bed for the night in summer's twilight, I strained to hear the sound from my parents' radio downstairs. The haunting theme music for "Mr. District Attorney" convinced me I had barely scratched the surface of life. So much more called out to me for discovery. I wanted it all. And, I could hardly wait.
You might wonder if I experienced what my heart longed to find. Somehow, I knew I would. Today I feel sorry for those young people who don't know what they want to do with their lives. I was blessed, because I always knew. To be sure, I had my share of bumps and potholes in the road, and those construction detours en route to destinies I determined to reach. But, along the way, I encountered a spiritual adventure that made everything else fit.
Right now, I can transport myself back in time in my memory to the hour a word from the Lord hit me. The verse was "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." I was shocked. If You knew the desires of my heart, I responded, You never would have said that! But, then it dawned on me. Of course, He knows everything, and He still said it. So He must have meant it. Instantly, I perceived the secret to understanding the mystery. Only God could be the perfect ally to direct this escapade of exploring what life has to offer. I recognized God's Holy Spirit as the companion of my lifetime.
Thus the adventure began in earnest. I was so overwhelmed at the generosity of this Savior I had always adored. But, in addition to redemption, He actually wanted me to have the desires of my heart as well. Amazing. My grateful response was to offer God those desires, to the point I even gave Him permission to change my heart to conform to His will, rather than mine, if He wanted to do so.
And, He did. As a teenager, I had told the Lord He could have my heart, but I wanted to hang on to my life. I wanted a say in my future. I was, in fact, afraid where He might want to send me. Surprise! When I let God take over those desires, I found I could hardly wait to see what He had waiting for me next, around the corner of time, wherever He took me.
After three trips to the Far East, each of them enough adventure for one lifetime, I claimed as my very own the words from the 139th Psalm: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou [art] there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou [art there]. [If] I take the wings of the morning, [and] dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
I breathe a deep sigh. I am satisfied. What greater adventure could anyone desire?
Psalm 37:4, 139:7-10
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