I recall being a young boy and traveling to Rhode Island to attend summer camp for the first time. I was terrified. The camp counselors had planned fun events for me and my fellow campers; however, to my adolescent mind, their “fun events” looked like death traps. The rope swings, canoe races, tug of war battles and adventure hikes all sounded like terribly dangerous activities. Once more, I had to do all of these things without my parents!
I spent most of the first and second day with the camp nurse because my fear and anxiety had caused terrible stomach discomfort. Finally, I called my parents to come and get me. We lived in Vermont, so they were not able to pick me up immediately. I attempted to make the best of the time I had left and went to the cafeteria for lunch. I had soon made a couple of friends. They seemed safe enough, but I was still reluctant to get involved with what I saw as dangerous activities.
Canoe races were scheduled for the following day and my new friends had talked me into participating. I started out in terror; however, things quickly changed as I got into the water and began to paddle the canoe. A feeling of excitement gradually replaced my fear and, by the end of the day, I was having the time of my life. After that, I was ready to tackle all of the “dangerous events” that the camp had to offer.
Later that day we were walking back to camp and I saw my mom. She had arrived to take me home early, per my request. I was devastated. My fear had caused me to call for backup but if I had just stuck it out, I would have been able to experience all of the thrills that I now craved.
I believe that true Christian faith results in an adrenaline rush: the exciting, pleasurable effect produced when the adrenal glands dump a large dose of adrenaline into the bloodstream. The adrenaline rush often occurs when the body senses danger; the “Fight or Flight” moment. Your heart rate increases, pleasure-giving endorphins are released by the pituitary gland and your breathing rate increases. The result of all this extra oxygen, energy and hormones is called an adrenaline high. This euphoric feeling is addictive and often leaves the recipient desperate for more.
Looking at the lives of believers, in the Bible, I see extreme faith. Faith that produced an adrenaline rush in those who pursued God with their whole heart. Our modern Christian world has created safe faith amusement parks so that we can have the best of both worlds. Faith, without the real “fight or flight” moments that produces the adrenaline rush.
Today I find myself on another first. My family and I have followed God’s still, small voice on an adventure. God has planned many fun events for us but, up to this point, I have only seen them as dangerous activities. I have been tempted to call for backup; however, this time I plan to hang in there. I know that once I am able to fully embrace what I currently see as dangerous, I will have an adrenaline rush that will leave me ever desperate for more. My prayer, for myself and my family, is that we will have the ability to stand still (don’t panic) and see the glory of God.