Today, I spent my lunch break reading The Four Feathers and, after dinner, I watched my favorite movie, A Knight’s Tale. The two, besides starring Heath Ledger in the movie version, are filled with adventure and bravery.
What is it about stories of nobility and adventure that draw us? I grew up on the Narnia series. On literature that encouraged my imaginative heart to dream of far-off lands (and worlds) and of fighting for Good.
Action-adventure films draw millions to the movie theaters. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is estimated to have earned, worldwide, close to $3 billion. And why do we spend so much money for a couple hours of entertainment?
As my sister so aptly put it, “If Frodo can take the ring into Mordor, I can wake up and go [on a field trip when I’m sick].”
Action stories give the chance to see Good win. Further than that, we begin to realize that big things are possible.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the heroes of the Bible. Of my favorite stories like Esther and Ruth. In my quiet times, I reached Hebrews 11, the Faith Hall of Fame. These people, these ordinary people, accomplished extraordinary tasks. I realized that their journey started with a “simple” step of obedience, but man oh man did they dream big.
Esther bravely faced the king to save her people, risking her life on several occasions. Keep in mind that this king had just banished his former queen because she didn’t show up at his party. He was unpredictable and unstable, at best. But Esther’s determination and faith in her God was stronger than her fear.
Ruth left her home, her family, her life, to follow her mother-in-law to a new land when their husbands died. Her sister-in-law turned back. She hesitated. Ruth pressed forward, stepping into unfamiliar situations for the love of her mother-in-law and her mother-in-law’s God. In doing so, Ruth entered into the lineage of Jesus.
I could go on with fictional accounts all night. If Harry Feversham hadn’t traveled into the war-torn Sudan, he wouldn’t have been reunited with his beloved Ethne. If William Thatcher hadn’t hidden his identity and competed as a knight, he never could have returned home to England to reunite with his father (and woo a bride, of course).
Stories of bravery and action show us how greater things are still to come. Maybe my “Sudan” is a new venture, terrifying, hostile, but rewarding. Maybe your new land is a new job, but you will enter into a larger story you couldn’t have anticipated.
This post seems near to my “Story” post, but I’m grateful for adventure stories that give us a moment to live through these powerful stories and encourage us to live big. Reach for more.
What’s your favorite story of adventure? Tell me in the comments!