This is something that has been going through my mind for the last 3 or 4 months. I’m not going to pretend that I have it figured out and can speak confidently on either side. But something inside of me is stirring with this question and, while it is churning inside, I will write about it.
God, Faith, and Safety Nets
A man in our church in Tennessee recently spent a good amount of money taking his entire family to Africa on a missions trip simply because God told him to go. With one son about to head off to college, and two more that seem to age at a rate of 3 years every 365 days, finances are going to be a major issue for the next several years.
That man was willing to do everything it took to get there, including taking out a loan on something he had already paid off. Why? He couldn’t wait another year to go. His decision was based on this tiny piece of advice from the missionary, “follow peace.” When he couldn’t find peace in waiting, he was willing to do whatever it took to get his family to Africa.
His decision was foolish, no doubt, in some people’s eyes. This man got to watch his youngest son preach to a multitude of kids on this trip. Worth it? Anyone outside of his family couldn’t even come close to answering that.
When I was on the pulpit trying to explain to our church why we were leaving with a 3-day warning, I couldn’t find anything to make sense of what I was feeling. All I knew was, it was time to go and I had to follow peace as well. As I said that I looked over at Glenn who just grinned and pointed at me. He understood.
Of course, anyone who has ever done anything for God can understand. But how often do we lose that bold attitude of taking a leap of faith accepting the fact that you could fall flat on your face? How often do we put ourselves in that situation?
My aunt Kathy, who is full of all kinds of difficult-to-apply wisdom recited me this saying many years ago:
A superior sailor uses his superior knowledge to keep himself out of situations that require his superior skill.
A very good quote and full of a lot of wisdom. Here recently, however, I’ve been wondering if that keeps us from getting all that God has in store for us.
I wonder how many of us bottle up the miraculous simply by lying in the safety nets we make ourselves.
How many times have you heard a fiery, evangelistic message where the preacher was telling us to be careful and not get too radical with our faith? Ever?
How many times in contrast have we heard the message come to take a leap of faith, to get out of the boat and onto the crashing waves, to step out against that giant with nothing but a slingshot?
What do we do?
We use our superior knowledge of how the world works, many times, to keep ourselves out of the situation where we need God to come through with a miracle.
How many times have we stepped out in faith knowing that if God didn’t come through happened, we would still be safe? What percentage of those times did we really need that net? 100%?
I step back and look at what I’m attempting to do and it’s scary. I could have planned it better and prepared better. It would be wiser to save up money for a year or so and then attempt to start a church.
How foolish was it really to jump in a car and head toward Seattle with just enough gas money to reach Oklahoma?
I’m almost convinced this is when God is most proud of me.
I could always go to Seattle with a backup plan in place. I could always plan for a year and work and save money to where I’m safe against anything going wrong. But where is God when I do that?
How many of us today would:
- What if David had listened to Saul and done the logical thing?
- What if Elijah was worried of failing in front of the other prophets at the edge of the river?
- What if Paul used his wiles to keep him and Silas out of prison?
- What if Peter and John were “careful” in their faith when the beggar called on them?
- What if Gideon had used his instincts for battler preparation?
- What if Daniel had taken a passive approach to his prayer life?
- What if Jonathan would have been reasonable and waited for the rest of the army?
How many times in scripture has God moved miraculously when men could handle the situation easily on their own? Any?
Why do we try so hard to keep ourselves out of such situations?
What if God is looking back and forth in the earth for a way to show Himself strong to His people?
What if using our superior knowledge keeps ourselves out of the storms where God does his best work?
What if God is waiting for the next person to risk life and limb, reputation, and pride to step out where, if anything happens, God is the only one that gets the credit?
Will we ever truly have faith in God if we always have to build our safety nets first?