Stepping Out and Up
Last night my wife and I spent the evening visiting with a couple that has recently gone through a very difficult and traumatic experience. One of the most challenging parts of their story is that it all happened after they made decisions based on what they felt God was calling them to do. For several months they sensed God leading them in a particular way, and they knew that if they followed Him in obedience, it would cost them financially, emotionally, and in great quantities of time. They also knew that taking this step would open up their family to potential challenges and problems. But after praying for several months - and having others pray with them - they were convinced this step of faith is what God wanted them to do.
So they stepped out - and everything fell apart. The situation was challenging, the pressure on the family was overwhelming, and the folks they were helping were ungrateful and intentionally unkind. So after two months of an almost unbearable situation, they made the decision to step back - and re-evaluate.
As we visited with them last night, we could sense their feeling of failure. While they weren’t angry at God over what happened, they did wonder why God let things unfold the way they did. And so their biggest questions now are: “Why did God allow this? What is He trying to teach us?”
In processing everything with them, I was reminded of one of the fundamental realities of being a Christian: God will use the risks we take for Him - both large and small - to push us into a deeper faith in Him. In other words, He will use it for our good - no matter how that step of faith turns out. And so, because He does use those steps for our good, He wants us to keep taking them - even if we don’t know where the second step will take us.
The reality is, not knowing what’s ahead in life is what requires us to have faith. The “not knowing” requires us to rely on God to guide us forward. And that’s also why we are often reluctant to follow God in faith - we don’t want to lose control of our lives. But if God tells us to take a step of faith, and we hesitate until He shows us what the second step will be, we’re not waiting on God - we’re making Him wait on us. And on top of that, we’re being disobedient.
As we take these steps of faith, the truth we have to hold onto is this: regardless of what we see on the other side, the reality is, God is there. So what seems to be a no-guarantee situation actually comes with the greatest guarantee of all - that God is working in our lives, through all things, and all situations. He is using our sacrifice of control for our benefit. Jesus makes this point in Matthew 16:25, where He says: “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.”
Folks, life does not come with any guarantees - other than the one God has given us: He will be with us - no matter what. So with that guarantee in mind, today let’s enter into the risky business of full obedience to Him. No matter what He’s calling us to do, let’s set aside our fears, worries, and insecurities - and instead, step out in faith, confident that God will use whatever happens for our good - and His glory.