Life: Adventure filled with surprises

By Curtis Shelburne

Years ago I read an excellent book by a man of deep faith, Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Paul Tournier. He entitled his book “The Adventure of Living.”
Life is an adventure, he wrote, precisely because you never really know what is going to happen next.
But for Christians, it is an adventure that draws its color from faith. Though we certainly don’t know what may happen on the next page or in the next paragraph, we do know the end of the story, and our trust is not in events but in the Author.
Life is indeed an adventure, and adventures are full of surprises.
I’m thinking right now of several people I love who are dealing with some surprises of a very bitter and tragic sort. Just a few days ago, they were walking through life reasonably comfortably and probably a bit complacently, much as I suspect that I am right now.
And then came the phone call or diagnosis that has rocked their world and very much colored this chapter in their story. Trusting the Author has suddenly become for them as deeply difficult as it is deeply and now obviously important.
I know them and I know the quality of their faith, and I know they’ll pass the test and walk through this valley, but anyone who thinks it will be easy hasn’t lived very long or walked very far.
Thank God, not all of the surprises that come to us in this “adventure of living” are difficult. Some surprises, large or small, are just truly surprising!
Think about your own past couple of weeks and the surprises those few days might have held for you, and I’ll tell you a bit about mine.
Here’s a small one. Two weeks ago, I didn’t know that I’d be limping around a bit and writing this column with my swollen foot propped up by the computer monitor because I’d rolled my ankle while dog-sitting, and consequently chasing, my future daughter-in-law’s pound puppy. But while lying on the ground in pain and dreaming dreams and seeing visions and pronouncing biblical curses on that canine, I didn’t know the mutt and I would later form a pretty warm relationship and I’d have a lot of fun watching the little idiot picking playful fights with the Great Dane whose yard she is presently sharing.
Three days ago, I didn’t know that No. 1 son would be very seriously considering going to Uganda for the coming school year to teach missionary kids and that No. 3 son would be talking about going with him to help build the kinds of things missions need help building. (I’d wondered about how to save money on car insurance for boys under 25 and now I know. Send them to Africa and park their wheels!)
Every life’s story is the story of an adventure filled with surprises of all sorts and all colors. Our job is to trust the Author, and that, my friends, is a full-time job.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at