Warning: This post might challenge your thoughts, commitment and decisions. Read at your own RISK.
A couple of days ago I posted this to my Facebook status:
“Will I ever have to jump off a cliff? …will God ever ask me to jump off a cliff?” – Missy, The Shack. What if God asked you to jump off a cliff? Would you? Good questions to ask. Difficult ones to answer. Of course, “jumping off a cliff” might translate into different things to different people, depending on their circumstances.
I have begun to read The Shack, apparently a book that has evoked many a debate. Seeing that people had much to say about it’s controversial content, I decided to read it with an open mind and slowly plough through it, taking time to chew the cud on every thought rather than just read it cover to cover. The quote above was the first of many interesting thoughts that I paused to ponder over.
I wonder how often we expect God to ask us to jump off a cliff, to take a risk. Not very often, I must admit. As far as most of us are concerned, we content ourselves with thoughts and songs of assurance of our safety and God’s protection over us – good things, no doubt, and very necessary. Here are a few lyrics I can think of immediately:
“I’m so secure, you’re here with me…
So close I believe, You’re holding me now
In Your hands I belong
You’ll never let me go…”
“Safe am I, safe am I
In the hollow of His hand
Sheltered o’er, sheltered o’er
With His love forever more
No foe can harm me
No fear alarm me
For He keeps both day and night.”
Often times I sing these songs to myself when I need assurance of God’s protection over me. It’s very comforting to know and feel that God has engraved me in the palms of His hands. But then, as I ponder over these thoughts, I also wonder about the practicalities of being in God’s hands and Him never letting go. I mean, doesn’t He have a zillion other things to do with His hands? Like fishing someone out of deep water or miry clay… or reaching out to touch and heal someone with leprosy… or holding his hands out against a storm… or breaking loaves of bread… or getting nailed to a cross??? These are just instances found in the Bible… and man, if I am to be in God’s hands with Him never letting go all the while, I really don’t think I would be as comfortable or “safe and secure” as one would imagine! Think about it! It’s going to get pretty uncomfortable for me… by placing myself in His hands, I am also making myself vulnerable to circumstances and situations that He chooses to use His hands for… and that undoubtedly means many great risks. Is that something I am willing to put myself through? Ha! Who would imagine that “security” in God’s dictionary is more often than not spelled R-I-S-K??? Are you even sure you want to be held so close in His hands right now? 🙂
I think it’s high time anyone who is serious about their commitment to Christ evaluate all that it truly involves and choose for himself/herself the road he/she will take. That is my challenge to anyone who might read this post.
I say this having faced my share of “risk” and having jumped off a cliff not too long ago. For me, it translated into leaving my comfort zone and stepping out into new territory without any idea as to how things would go or what the future held for me. For sure, it was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, and not everyone understood why I had to do what I had to do. I know that to date, some think I made a big mistake and may even be angry with me or hold ill feelings against me for the choices I made. Others who could see to the heart of the issues knew better and have supported me and prayed for me all along. For a long while I did not want to face the rest of humanity, save a handful of near and dear, for fear of what they would think or say and the questions I would be asked. If anything, my situation seemed to only go from bad to worse. In fact, at one point, every step I had climbed up to that point and every strong pillar in my life began to crumble and fall, so much so that I had no where else to reach out and cling on to for dear life but above.
However, looking back, I can now see that God honoured me for the decision I made to do what He asked me to do unquestioningly. I don’t want to boast about my deeds, but God’s faithfulness to me despite my many mistakes and shortcomings. All it required was my obedience no matter what, and He worked all things (including those mistakes and shortcomings) out for my good although I could not see or know that then.
I can also testify that being in God’s hands has been as thrilling as a roller coaster ride, if not more. You never know what to expect, what God will ask you to do next, where He will send you, and whom or what you will have to encounter. If you’re an adventurous person, I’d say it’s the real deal!
Christine Caine from Hillsong Australia has been doing a series on “Stop Acting Like a Christian & Be One!” at LifeChurch. A lot of challenging thoughts, and this week’s challenge has been to be willing to take that risk, to step out of your comfort zone and be willing to go where God sends you and do what He asks you to do – no matter what it takes. She shared about how many times she herself has merely escaped bomb blasts and terrorist attacks with the kind of work she is involved in. Not quite what any of us think is part of our “calling” – something we prefer to leave to others with that kind of calling to do. “As for me, I’ll just sit here behind this desk… sure, I can pray for those who face such risks… isn’t that the best thing I can do?” Well, I hate to say that if God has truly called you, it is NOT without risk. There is always something we are asked to do that we are not quite comfortable doing… it’s a daily choice we make for ourselves, either to walk in obedience to Him or weave our own ways of folly and miss out on the wonderful things He has in store for us.
I remember vaguely reading this story about a guy who went rock climbing and as night came, lost his grip and fell. He hung on to his rope for many hours in the dark, always fearing the worst and praying God would somehow save him. To his surprise, He heard God audibly tell him to let go of the rope. “What??? You can’t be serious!” was his response, and he continued to hang on to the rope that would likely snap and give way to his weight any moment. And so he hung that way in fear and dread, almost freezing himself to death, not to mention starvation, all night long. When dawn finally broke, he looked around to see if he could find a way to safety, and much to his amazement, he found that he was hanging a mere 3 feet off the ground! If only he had listened to God’s voice and let go of the rope, he would most certainly have foregone the nightlong torture he had put himself through. How foolish he had been to discredit God’s voice and choose his own folly instead!
I’ll wrap up with that thought. I don’t know which person reading this post today might be standing atop a cliff, with God asking you to jump off. Like I mentioned in my Facebook status, it might translate to different people into different things, depending on their circumstances and situations. If you’re that person atop the cliff today, what would you do? Are you willing to take that leap of faith in obedience?
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