Many would say I have a genetic deficiency and maybe their judgment would be correct. (Not being one to judge, I’ll simply store the collective verdicts for future sermon illustrations.) However, were I to assume the judge & jury role I might consider the incompleteness theirs and not mine. The issue, here, is what isn’t on my bucket list. Here are just a few: skydiving, bungee jumping, Formula 1 racing, rollercoasters, whitewater rafting, and oysters (those little guys are perfectly safe with me). The thrill, the rush, the sheer pleasure that people talk about in the above pursuits is found nowhere in my DNA, unless those words are code for terror, for heart failure, for nightmare. Actually, I think one is quite wise to establish safe boundaries even though the stating of them invites harassment and razzing and incessant joking – all lovingly provided, of course, because ‘it’s good for you’. (No, Horace, my steak doesn’t need 2 hours on your grill!) What I find incredible is, having put these protections in place, life continues to present itself as an extreme sport. I mean, when you least expect it and are least prepared and the least in the mood for it, adventure throws out your calendar along with your lounge chair and beach umbrella and hauls you into the ‘fun.’ (am I the only one noticing this?)

Jesus’ middle name might just be ‘Adventure.’ In one instance, he innocently suggests to the guys that they go boating. This is their domain. They’re all in because Jesus wants a late afternoon sail to watch the sunset on the water. Or so the whole group thought. By the time they get well out on the lake, the weather turns. There’ll be no enjoying the sun’s setting this day. Quickly, the wind becomes violent, the waves threaten the boat, the pleasure cruise now a fight for survival – and Jesus is sound asleep as they frantically attempt to stay afloat, straining to make it to shore. The one who asked for this little sail is catching z’s while they are in full-blown panic – these seasoned watermen fear for their lives. When someone on board realizes Jesus is not helping bail water, they shake him rudely awake, upset since he’s the one who got them into this mess. They accuse him of not caring that they’re going to drown. This was extreme sport; one they hadn’t signed on for. Was this accidental or intentional on Jesus’ part? Had he misread the skies or was he hoping his friends would pass the test, trusting him with their lives? When our storms blow in, what is our go-to posture? Do we run to his safety? Do we keep uppermost in our minds that his is the ultimate control and ours isn’t? 2021 has already presented us with some whitewater and rollercoasters and it looks like some Formula 1 laps are upcoming. Jesus says to his close friends: “Why are you fearful? Have you lost your faith in me?” Luke 8:25 TPT What will be my answer? And yours? Remember, we’re in this together and we already know how this story ends! What’s on your bucket list? PD

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