Brad LaChapell is one of the best guys I know. A junior pastoral ministries major at Lee with me, he has edified me as an accountability group member and inspired me as the chaplain of my dorm.
With a heart full of grace, Brad lives out the Gospel daily amongst both the privileged and the destitute, finding God everywhere he looks.
Having taken the same trip to Israel as Valerie from “Unearthing Israel,” I had to share with you Brad’s moving story of his spiritual musings from the Sea of Galilee. //
I really like stories. There is something about them that draws the attention, fixates the mind, and captivates the imagination.
Stories have the ability to take you along on a journey, thrusting you to the edge of your seat as you experience the narrative’s ebb and flow, awaiting its conclusion. The best stories will leave you walking away with a sense of wonder.
Countless stories have taken me on such journeys, but never has it been so easy to place myself within a story as it was sailing the Sea of Galilee. On those waters, the very waters that Jesus set foot upon, I felt so vividly immersed in the story of scripture.
Everything had been moving so quickly leading up to that point. It began with a four o’clock in the morning flight from Atlanta, and a few plane rides, conversations with strangers, and naps later, I was on the ground in Tel Aviv, Israel, for two weeks of touring the country–my first experience abroad.
The start of many endeavors in the Holy Land, my life stood still on those waters.
I think we all long to go on the adventure of a lifetime, to be a part of a grand story.
We are infatuated with travel and captivated by books and movies that can take us to another world. Like children when they first learn to crawl, we venture to explore unknown places. We seek to discover all things new in the world of study and research and create bucketlists to squeeze as much adventure into life as possible.
We long for a life of purpose, a journey that is meaningful. It is a part of what it is to be human.
I can imagine Peter had such a longing. Sailing this very sea two thousand years ago, in a boat similar to the one that I had been sailing in, Peter had been missing something deep in his soul, though he knew not exactly what.
That is, until he heard the two words that satisfied his longing. With two words, Jesus called Peter to the adventure of a lifetime:
He was comforted and confounded as these two words created feelings so paradoxical. Jesus promised to make Peter, the fisherman, a “fisher of men.” Peter’s life would be changed to change lives.
Jesus took Peter’s ordinary everyday calling and reinvented it, breathing his divine life and purpose into it and establishing an even greater calling.
Now, Jesus beckons all people to the same: “Follow Me.”
It is hard to believe that it has been about three and a half years since I said “yes” to these words, yet it’s as if it has been a lifetime full of adventure.
Much of that time, I’ve spent in places of poverty and brokenness. Along the way I have met some of the most amazing people. Though some of these places and situations are heavy, I’ve seen God in these places as I’ve joined with Him in bringing restoration and hope to these broken places.
As God’s people, we are on this journey together, though it may look different for everyone. We have been invited into the grand narrative of redemptive history, and we have become vital characters in the story.
We all play a role in the unfolding of God’s redemptive purpose in the world, building a Kingdom whose reign will never end.
Like all of the best stories, ours will have times of great sorrow and great joy. While not every moment will produce adrenaline-filled excitement, Christianity should never be a boring existence, void of meaning.
In both the mundane and the remarkable, journeying with Christ is an endlessly meaningful adventure. Following Jesus is like conquering the open sea.
But because we know we will arrive safely at shore, we are freed to enjoy the journey with our hearts at ease, exploring the depths of God, ourselves, humanity, and the rest of creation and discovering the beauty of God amidst it all.
I believe Jesus’ call to follow Him is an invitation to embark on the great adventure. It’s like what C.S. Lewis notably described in The Last Battle as the “Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
As I stepped off of that boat onto the shore of the Sea of Galilee, I was filled with wonder as I realized I was not leaving a story but stepping back into one–the narrative of those beckoned by the call, “Follow me.”
Want more 31 Days of Unexpected Supernatural Encounters? You’ll find them here.
You can read more adventures in travel from the Finding God Abroad series here.