When Will I Ever Learn?

When will I ever learn
To live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

On our last Sunday in church I opened our gathering with these words. They sound like a Psalm – like something David would say. And people guessed as much when I asked where they were from.

Trick question…

In actual fact they are the lyrics of a Van Morrison song by the same title, but they speak to the enduring challenge of genuinely, consistently putting our faith in a God who provides. 

My experience has been that God has always  – always – always provided for us and we have been blessed to always have enough. But the last 12 years have been unusually stable, steady, prosperous and devoid of risk, so when I hear the call to risk and adventure again one part of me comes alive, feeling this is what I was created for – but another part winces at the possibility of a life that is less ‘safe’ – that may involve a decrease in my ‘standard of living’ – my comfort.

And yet ironically, comfort is never the place where I find the greatest joy. It’s a trap. I know it – to want to enjoy the benefits of being safe, secure and comfortable, while also experiencing the thrill of adventure, uncertainty and faith.

One of the things I have tried to teach my kids is that life is a constant series of trade offs. Want a house, steady job, mortgage and all the bells and whistles that go with that? Then don’t expect to be backpacking thru Europe any time soon… However if you would like to buy a kombi and travel Australia then you can also expect that to come at the cost of significant relationships and financial stability (unless you are a clever cookie who can make money on the road). But – you just can’t have everything, all the time – and it’s not good for you either.

It was around 10 years ago I removed a quote from the bottom of my emails, one that I had allowed to form and inspire me:

‘Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all’

Helen Keller

The advent of children in our lives meant a degree of stability was needed to help them put roots down and feel safe. I couldn’t just change jobs and move house at the drop of a hat. They had to be considered. Ironically enough it has led to my son perceiving my life as boring. Umm… yeah… But with our youngest now 18 and both increasingly independent, we no longer have to consider their security and stability quite so much.

This era of life is one where both Danelle and I can both explore some new adventures (although that isn’t so much her thing). I am hoping the spark that fuelled previous steps of faith and new initiatives can be re-kindled and I can listen to the Spirit as he leads us into this next phase of life.

Of course adventure always comes at the expense of safety. It has to, otherwise it just isn’t adventure. It doesn’t have to be foolhardy, but it will call us to move into places we haven’t been before and with no guarantees of the outcome. Or we can just keep doing what we have always done…

Yeah, nah…

As card carrying God botherers adventure is also rarely just for adventure’s sake (unless it involves waves and 4wds), but this is more about listening to the Spirit and trying to discern where he is taking us next. And then trusting that the God who has always provided before will also provide enough in this next stage of life.

We aren’t about to jump ship on the churches we are committed to – it doesn’t feel like ‘that’ kind of adventure, but there will be some changes vocationally and in how we use our time in the years ahead. We have some hopes and dreams that we think align with those of the Spirit and part of this road trip is to sit on those ideas for a bit and discern, so that when we come home we can move forward with confidence.

So – when will I ever learn to live in God?

It will probably never come completely naturally – if I am choosing a life of faith – because it will involve discomfort, but with discomfort comes new challenges and new adventures!

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