Even in the pain and depression phase I suffered through earlier in my life, I could sense God urging me to “jump” toward him. That is a tough move to make when one is in pain and stress, the sort of pain and stress I was experiencing at the time. Jumping toward God was the last thing on my mind. It would be like a frightened first-time parachutist who cowers in the plane’s belly and says “no way” when the pilot screams through his microphone, “Jump! Jump now! Go!” All of that confidence from the ground training has disappeared.
Same thing for ski jumpers gazing down the nearly 400-foot elevation drop to the landing zone below. Of course they are afraid!
So it is with life. The first jump past our risk is always the most difficult, because we do not have a clear view of what will happen after we decide to let go of our supports. Even though we have had “ground training” from other Christians, it is still very difficult to make that first jump. The bad news is that we cannot help having a touch of concern over what we will encounter down the road. The good news is we have started the process of travelling with God as our driver.
While building our custom home, I watched a man hop on a huge earthmover to tackle the land with its hills, ruts, trees, concrete, and many other obstacles. Before he started, I asked him how he knew where to start and what to do with so many unknowns in his path. He said the plans submitted by the engineers provided a general sense of what he was trying to accomplish, but it was not until he started moving the dirt that he really knew what to do. He told me each time he moved some dirt he learned a little more about the property. By moving the dirt, he learned how the ground was sloped and what was underneath each section of the parcel. He kept repeating, “You’ve got to move the dirt. You’ve got to move the dirt.” The key was getting started.
I asked him when he would have enough experience to feel more confident before he started the project. He replied assertively, “I’ve been doing this for thirty-two years and I am as good as the best. If I waited for the day I knew everything about the property and how to shape it before starting the project, I would never get on the tractor.”
The only way to get closer to God after we stop playing boss is to take action past the risk and begin to begin, no matter how uncertain and menacing the future looks. It is faith in action past risk and beyond fear. It is trusting God without all of the answers, exploration with confidence and hope.