Faith Like An Antelope
Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment, and as is usually the case at a doctor’s office, I spent some time in the waiting area. I was pleased to see that they had plenty of magazines sitting around – unfortunately most of them were at least ten years old. After sorting through the stack closest to me, I came across an old National Geographic, and started leafing through the different articles.
I stopped on one titled, “The Amazing African Impala”. To be honest, I stopped on that one because the pictures looked amazing, which is what caught my interest. If you’re not familiar with the African Impala, it’s a medium-sized antelope that inhabits the grasslands of eastern Africa. From what I read, it seems that the African Impala is a fairly typical antelope in that it grazes on a variety of wild grasses, it is a fast runner, it can jump higher than 10 feet, and it cover distances greater than 30 feet in length in one leap.
So, knowing that the African Antelope is quick and agile, I was surprised to read that they are kept in zoos with walls that are usually only three feet high. Why? Because African Impalas will not jump if they can't see where their feet are going to land.
When I read that fact, I realized that most of us have something in common with these antelopes. While we might be ABLE to take great leaps of faith, more often than not we refuse to do so unless we can see where we’re going to land. The problem with that attitude is that it’s not really “faith”. Here’s what I mean by that: Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” In other words, “faith” is moving forward when God calls us to move - even if we can’t see what’s next. I once heard a pastor describe it like this: “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where our power ends.”
I love that quote because it helps us understand that true faith cannot see where or when or how the landing will occur - it simply leaps under the conviction that it WILL occur. This is so important for us to know and understand, because God calls us to be people who live by faith. The Apostle Paul makes this clear in 2 Corinthians 5:7, when he tells us that we are to “live by faith, not by sight.”
So today, let’s be people of faith. Let’s listen to what God is calling us to do, and then make the decision to take the leap. Let’s follow God in faith, even if we can’t see where we might land.