The Joy of Exploring- Look, See, Pray

Wishful thinking. Bluebell woods… sorry, not even sunny Sussex has bluebells out yet! But it won’t be too long. Whilst waiting…

Do you remember exploring as a child? Those daring adventures… the scary thoughts (I thought there was a bear at the bottom of the garden, don’t ask me why! It was the South Downs, not the Rockies). New places, favourite places, exciting things to see and do. Sheer joy!

Can you see the glee in this kid’s face? Boldly leaving Dad behind, running along a muddy path with the scent of a billion basking bluebells smelling like heaven. Exploring!

The adult in me immediately worries about losing the littl’un, her having an accident, maybe a rampaging fire-breathing dragon leaping from behind the beech trees, or simply risking sensitising Mary-Jane to pollen and a lifetime of hayfever. I’m a RESPONSIBLE person (who worries too much). My inner child-self says “Go for it, kid! Run, explore, discover bees and bluebells, birdsong and trees to play in!”

Parental supervision (just out of sight for Mary-Jane) was keeping her safe, but giving her the sense of adventure: room to grow and flourish. Imagination stoked, spirits lifted, and joy stored in the soul. Better than computer games, or the Teletubbies, or being prematurely attached to a mobile phone (all potential “pleasures” in store later unless the child is truly fortunate).

I wonder… have you ever thought about God, our Father Eternal, looking on as we run around exploring and enjoying the planet?

Or proudly watching as we struggle to master a new skill, or deeper knowledge, even attempting to learn to love Him? Stretching beyond our grasp, seeking something of the richness of true life and Love, hardly knowing what we’re doing but knowing it’s fun???

God is there. Watching us discover the joy of exploring- and hoping we don’t forget how to do it.

Will we “grow up” or just grow old? Will we lose our sense of wonder, our ability to be amazed, humbled, excited, passion-filled explorers who live with joy in the simplest of things as well as the most majestic, complex inspirations the world has to offer?

Does God worry about us? I’ve given cause enough to my parents (and my God). God is certainly concerned for us, full of lovingkindness, compassion, and patience. Worried? Nah, that would suggest the Lord is just a slightly bigger version of a grown-up. He is the Sovereign Lord, the Rescuer, the life-giver.

Try just for a moment to imagine yourself running among the bluebells. Exploring. Joyous. Now sneak a look up at your Father’s eyes, the smiling face of Jesus, the laughing Holy Spirit… enjoying YOUR joy.

We’re invited to “walk with” and learn as we go- that’s being a disciple of Jesus. Not always a laugh a minute, not always happy, in fact sometimes it can feel like drowning in treacle. Yet we are walking with the One who said “I have come to bring Life, life to the FULL.” (See John 10v10)

Go on, keep exploring. There’s joy to be shared.

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