Thursday, October 24, 2013

Take a Leap!

The kid was petrified. Fear was etched on his face as he peered anxiously out across the 30-foot tall platform. His nervous, jerky steps gave him away as he inched toward the edge, trying to convince himself it was safe to jump.

My husband and I were at Hume Lake Christian Camp, watching the middle schoolers launch themselves out on the zip line. This boy caught my eye because while other kids vied to be next to throw themselves wildly into space, he was struggling to find the courage.

When it was his turn to go, he froze, shaking his head in denial.

“I can’t,” he blurted out.

The other kids encouraged him, cheering him on.

“You can do it! Go for it! Come on, it’ll be worth it!”

I found myself holding my breath, willing him to jump, knowing if he didn’t he would always wish he had.

After a few seconds, I could see his muscles tense, and then he sprinted the last few steps and jumped! For a split second terror masked his face. But as the harness caught and he catapulted forward, the fear turned into joyous abandon. I laughed to see it as the other kids applauded.

hume lake zipline

After his harness was removed, he and his friend walked right by me. I heard him say, “That was awesome! At first I didn’t want to do it. But I kept looking up, and it was a blast! Can we do it again?”

What a great picture.

There are times when we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus is calling us to do a new thing. There it is, and there’s no getting around the risk involved. And frankly, it’s scary. But still, His voice whispers “Jump. Trust me. I’ve got you, and I won’t let go.”

So we stand there on the edge, debating whether or not to launch ourselves out into the unknown. Jesus doesn’t push us off; he leaves us the choice to jump, or not.

We each have to choose whom to listen to. The voice of fear is strong. The still, small voice of the Savior is hard to hear over the pounding of our hearts. But when we still our anxious spirit enough to listen, his words of courage come to us, challenging us to go for it.

The risk of staying put is actually far greater than the risk of stepping out in faith. Look back at your life, the times you came to a crossroads. Dead ahead was the safe, the familiar, the comfortable. But still, you felt the unmistakable pull of the Spirit calling you to change directions. Which did you follow?

If you followed what was safe, you will never know what the Lord had in mind for you. Were His plans accomplished without you? Absolutely! But you were the one who missed out on all that the Lord had in mind. But when you obeyed? Oh, what joy!

I often think of all the blessing I would have missed out on, if I had said no to the steps that God asked me to take.

Someone once said that it’s not what we did that brings us the most regret at the end of our lives; it’s those things that we did not do that haunt us.

So let yourself fly! In the end, obedience keeps us safely tethers us to the One who will not let us fall. Then you will know the joy of a challenge met, a fear conquered, and the thrill of the ride.

Like the kids told the fearful boy, “You can do it. Go for it. It’ll be worth it.”

Just don’t forget to look up first.

Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.               Isaiah 41:10

Further reflection:

  1. Was there ever a time you felt Jesus calling you to take a risk, and you said no? Are you glad?
  2. Has there ever been a time that you did take that risk? What happened?
  3. How might you encourage someone else who is hesitant to take the risk of stepping into the unknown that God is calling them to?

Father, life can be scary. It is hard to take risks that open me up to pain, or embarrassment, or failure. But I do know that anytime You ask me to step out in faith it is better to risk those things than to live with the regret if I don’t. You know best, and You know where You are taking me. I trust You to lead me there.

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