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October 4, 2012

When God Calls Us to Take a Leap of Faith

Fear can be intimidating, but my dog and the Israelites reminded me of what I can really do with God’s help.

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My dog, Henry, doesn’t believe in the word impossible. One day as we walked past a lake, Henry spotted some geese swimming happily about. His predator instinct kicked in, and he burst toward them, nearly tearing the leash from my grasp.

Never mind they’re 20 yards out from shore and have a clear head start—he will catch them.

Never mind that their fat goose bodies float effortlessly, and Henry swims like an anvil.

He. Will. Prevail.

Never mind that, if all else fails, those birds will spread their wings and fly. To Henry, that just means he will have to jump really, really high.

Sometimes I think my dog is an idiot. But sometimes, I yearn for his enthusiasm. Oh, to be so willing to overlook reason.

This is exactly what God called the Israelites to do when he brought them out of Egypt to the Promised Land. A bunch of former slaves with no military training were supposed to conquer a land of fierce and experienced warriors? Impossible.

Let’s face it—the Israelite resume would read: “Can make bricks from straw. Experienced walkers. Good at grumbling.”

When they arrived at the border of the Promised Land, they sent out 12 spies (Numbers 13), who reported the land was bountiful and beautiful. They had just one tiny problem: the big, scary natives who had no intention of leaving.

What did the Israelites expect? Wimpy people? No people? People who said, “Hi, there. Please plunder us”?

Only two spies were willing to overlook the difficulties. The rest of the Israelites got stymied by the impossible, and refused to follow God’s directions. The result was a 40-year tour in the wilderness, with Israelites dropping left and right from plagues, venomous snakes, and attacks from disgruntled neighbors.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to say I would have been all over that Promised Land routine. Sign me up for the front lines. But could I really stare down the wrong end of a bloody sword and not panic?

I’m glad I wasn’t there to find out. But there’s really no escaping the question: Doesn’t God still call us to do impossible things? If we’re really listening, won’t God thrust some opportunity at us that forces us into the territory of big, scary obstacles?

Maybe it’s a new and unnerving ministry we’re not sure we can handle. Maybe it’s a career or job change with an unforeseeable future. Or what about a mission trip to someplace decidedly uncomfortable, unsafe, or impossible?

And yet: Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

Maybe we need to quit thinking so much, quit dwelling on reasons we could fail. Those reasons will always be there. I mean, what do we expect? Wimpy hurdles? No hurdles? The whole deal is going to be stinking hard. The sooner we absorb that piece of info, the better.

What happens if we go for it? If we close our eyes and take a flying leap off the edge of rationality? Isn’t that right where God wants us—anvils heading for deep water, trusting God to make us float?

He can do that.

So the next time I’m faced with the impossible, I need to remember that God specializes in all things impossible. And while I’m thinking of it, maybe next time Henry takes off for the lakeshore, I’ll jump right in with him.

Erin Taylor Young is a freelance author, humorist, and praying mom who lives with her family in Oklahoma. www.erintayloryoung.com

Related Tags: pets, Risk-Taking, Trusting God

Comments

Hi Erin. I'm sure we can all relate.
Often when Our Father calls us specially to live radically like Henry:), people around us will call us crazy. What helps is to look at the joy that is set before you like Jesus did as He faced that cross. One of my secret joys is when they see what God has done in my life and how what He has done has blessed others, and they have to hold their mouths and say, "Oh!" LOL. I know, not the greatest reward, but I'm had such wierd looks and often even looked at myself as wierd. But I'm assured like Joshua & Caleb, that if God is for us and says we will take this land, then we will.

Bless you,
Princess Carroll Ayo Durodola

Hi
I am able to relate too your story.........some days is l little hard to just step out on faith but guess what?? I do it cause I believe that God had me His daughter & total control of the situation. So reading how the Israelites didnt have faith & for 40 days God showed them that basically this is what happens when you my children dont have faith in Me. And even today alot of His children see the miracles that God has dine & do everyday with people & their situation. How bout I will keep leaping out on faith causr all we His children need is a tiny weeny mustard seed & just that little bit will take us far.

Thank you Erin, for your timely words.

I need to follow through with a difficult conversation, and I'd rather speak to a roomful of people than do it. But each time we do whatever doesn't come easy for us and hold on to God for each step, He does incredible things through us!

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