The classic children’s book, The Phantom Tollbooth, tells the story of a young boy named Milo. One rainy afternoon, Milo receives a mysterious gift of a cardboard tollbooth. Bored, Milo builds the tollbooth and “drives through” it with his toy car. Suddenly, Milo finds himself in a strange new land. At first, he is excited – what an adventure! But as the road stretches out before him, Milo begins to grow bored again and dozes off. Rousing himself, Milo notices there are strange little creatures draped over his car, snoozing on his head and dashboard. The creatures inform Milo that he is now stuck in a place known as “The Doldrums”.
The “doldrums” is actually an old nautical reference to a “dead zone” — a place where there are no strong currents, and no wind to fill up the sails. Unfortunately, it isn’t just sailors or bored little boys on rainy afternoons who find themselves stranded in the “doldrums.” We Christians can fall into the doldrums — treating our faith as commonplace, content with things as they are. But when we read scripture, we see folks running to Jesus, continually seeking him out, pressing in around him to catch his every word. Listen to Paul as he urges Timothy: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love….” (I Timothy 6:11) Pursue, says Paul — seek out, seize with both hands, follow after with everything you’ve got.
Milo gets out of the Doldrums by visiting new and exciting places like the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping to it). Like Milo, I find when I am in the doldrums that getting out of my comfort zone and doing something new awakens my heart. Getting involved in outreach (Street Church, Kairos Prison Ministry, His Place, Youth for Christ), reading through a new devotional book, teaching or taking a class, going on an Emmaus weekend or joining a small group all re-energize a sleepy faith. Simply meeting with other believers tends to “jumpstart” our motors and get us traveling new paths of faith.
This is a great time to pursue something new in your spiritual life at Liberty. May all of us visiting the Doldrums discover, along with Milo, that the journey of faith is an incomparable adventure.
Adventuring along with you,