Spoiler Alert: This is the last chapter of the book! (Wink and Smile)
What if… Why not? (the book) is filled with stories of how I deeply found God over 7 trips to Alaska. But the book is not about Alaska, and although the stories are mine, it is not about me. The book is about reckless abandon to all that God has for you! This is the last chapter. I share it because most will never read the book, but the message is paramount! Dive headlong into your “What ifs…”.
“THE TEMPTATION is always to reduce life to size. A bowl of cherries. A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism. It is THE mystery.” – Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking
My first trip to Alaska was not the beginning of the stories; it was simply the gateway into the rest. I cannot even begin to explain how that first journey has affected every aspect of my life since we set out in the ARK02 with the three gypsies. I moved to Florida, finished Bible college, helped plant a church in Colorado, chose my wife, tweaked my life goals, developed a philosophy of child rearing, spent thousands of dollars sharing Alaska with other men and dove deeply into the practice of making disciples who make disciples.
But these stories are not stories of my experiences in Alaska—they are stories of the Maker’s redemption of the brokenness in my life and His faithfulness to lead me to a life worth living. They are stories of me trading a few conveniences and successes that life has to offer for the adventure and richness that Life has to offer.
A few months ago,we had a picture hanging in our living room that read: “It costs nothing to dream and everything not to.” I loved that picture. One night I was sitting in my leather chair thinking about it when I decided that it was a lie. It costs everything to dream. If you pursue what you feel compelled to do with your life, it will cost everything.
In my mind I imagine a hot dog vendor walking through a crowded baseball stadium with a promise of a hot frankfurter in exchange for a sacrifice of a couple dollars. The voice triggers a hunger that compels me to indulge in the greasy dog. Much the same way, the Maker is crying out that there is more; more to life than this. It does, however, come at a price. The price is our life. Will we give our motivation to the fullness He promises? Will we hand over our plans in exchange for His? It is the one indulgence that makes Him happy and sets our hearts free. It is the one addiction that all other addictions impersonate. It is the vice to which we were meant to submit. What more can we expect from life than these experiences that the Maker had planned from the beginning of time? Let go and fall headlong into the future that the Maker has designed specifically and uniquely for YOU. You will not turn back!
As I blindly followed Scott into obedience and journeyed north, I simply heard the beckoning call of the Maker in a particular place, and that place has become a Stone of Remembrance for me.
When the Israelites crossed into the Maker’s Promised Land, Joshua instructed them to construct pillars that would help future generations remember the faithfulness of God. Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents would stand beside those stones and tell about the faithfulness of the Maker and how He delivered them from danger and defeat, even the danger that they were to themselves, for they longed to return to captivity at times instead of facing the challenge before them.
That is my story of Alaska. I will stand by “our place” and sit on the beach where God wrote His name in the sky; I will dance on the glacier and point to a pair of sneakers and proclaim that God is Love as loudly as I can to anyone who will listen.
Trust Him. Follow Him. Be Radically Obedient. He will take you on a journey you will never regret and you will find a better story that you wouldn’t trade for all the treasure on Earth.
Get out of your seat and follow. Once you live a better story and step through the doorways of “what ifs” and “why nots,” you will never go back to the safety of a life void of adventure. I promise!
Once you live a better story and step through the doorways of “what ifs” and “why nots,” you will never go back to the safety of a life void of adventure.