The icy river cut straight through the road we were on. We sat in the car, staring at the rushing water that blocked our way.
Two hours since we last saw another human being, let alone any kind of settlement, and now our path was cut off.
Early summer had melted the Icelandic snows enough to allow the roads to reopen after a long winter. But with that thaw came fast flowing, freezing rivers down from the mountains. And now six of us sat in a Land Rover with all our camping gear, faced with this obstacle. The only way to reach the Kerlingarfjoll mountains and our campsite was to cross this river.
Now, it’s not unheard of to have to ford a river in Iceland, so we had prepared by hiring a car that could, in theory, cope with it. But what we hadn’t been expecting was the rather steep waterfall immediately downstream. The slightest error in judgment could sweep us down the rapids.
We held our breath as the car edged down the slope and into the water…
Are you an adventurous person? I’m not asking if you’ve recently climbed any mountains or trekked across the desert, although that would be a pretty strong indicator that you are.
Adventure isn’t about taking epic-looking photos and pairing them with inspirational quotes on social media. It’s about finding the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something different. It’s also about deciding to be part of something that matters, something that could make a difference.
“’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:19-20)
When Jesus stopped on the shore of Lake Galilee to speak to a couple of fishermen, he was inviting them on the adventure of a lifetime. Over the next three years, they would have their understanding of the world turned upside down, see the dead come back to life, and witness the most important event in history.
Jesus calls us on an adventure too. It can be easy to think immediately of hiking through the jungle of the Congo to bring the gospel to unreached communities, and for some people that might be the case, but your calling to adventure could look completely different.
It could mean choosing to open up your home and create a warm and welcoming place of community for others. It could mean pouring out your time and energy to help a group of people you’d never have otherwise met, and seeing their lives transformed. Like taking the plunge into an icy river, following that call involves stepping out into something unknown.
For me, it meant quitting a job I loved and leaving my friends behind to move to a new city as part of a church plant team. It was a risk and it has been an amazing experience – and God absolutely provided when it came to finding a new role to get stuck into and a cause I could really get behind. For you, it could be something totally different again – the dream that God has put in your heart, the vision you know you have to give a chance.
When Jesus called disciples to follow him, he also told them to count the cost first. Adventurous doesn’t have to mean reckless. We chose the right vehicle to maximise our chances of making it safely through the river. We thought carefully about how fast to drive into the current so we would hopefully not get hurled down the rapids. Some adventures take more planning and preparation than others. Following your dreams might mean having to get some funds together, or putting in the hours to learn something new first. There could be an emotional price, or you might have to give up the things that make you feel comfortable and safe. But if you decide that it’s worth it, you can endure it all.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we made it safely to the other side of the river without being swept away!