Are You Ready to Try?
Are you ready to try an audacious experiment? While it is “out there” by today’s standards, it is by no means outside the norm of the actions taken by the historical people of God.
The audacity of this experiment is the belief that God’s actions in history are not just for spiritual application. The victories of God’s people were real, physical victories. Enemies were destroyed. Lions’ mouths were shut. Men thrown into an overheated furnace not only did not perish—they did not even smell like smoke when they walked out!
In many circles today it is audacious to think that God is anything more than a spiritual guide or a moral standard-setter. Is it because we are so much more educated—more sophisticated—that we find it to be too much of a stretch to believe that God can really change our physical circumstances? Did David possess something when he approached Goliath that is impossible for us to possess?
The medical community views its effort to conquer cancer as no less audacious:
“’If a man die,’ William Carlos Williams once wrote, ‘it is because death has first possessed his imagination.’ Death possessed the imagination of my patients that month, and my task was to repossess imagination from death. It is a task almost impossibly difficult to describe, an operation far more delicate and complex than the administration of a medicine or the performance of surgery. It was easy to repossess imagination with false promises; much harder to do so with nuanced truths. It demanded an act of exquisite measuring and remeasuring, filling and unfilling a psychological respirator with oxygen. Too much ‘repossession’ and imagination might bloat into delusion. Too little and it might asphyxiate hope altogether.” (The Emperor of All Maladies, p. 306)
Maybe it’s not that we’re more or less educated or more or less sophisticated than others—maybe it’s that we’re fearful others will think we’ve lost it. Is it possible Noah faced similar criticism from his neighbors? Or maybe we’re afraid that if we really trust God and he doesn’t come through for us we’ll have to bear the burden of guilt for not having “enough” faith.
Into that blanket of fear, God speaks: “Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10) Fear not!? Can we really live that way? Maybe we won’t have the wild success that we read about in the Bible. But isn’t the real question this: Are we willing to TRY? Are we willing to take God at his word—to trust him for the outcome? Are you ready and willing to be an audacious follower of God?
You don’t need more faith–you need to be faithful. Is there a difference? Yes, there is. A few years ago, I was travelling in our Maxivan with my wife and children, when one of them needed me to stop so they could use the restroom. While I was waiting for him to return so we could continue on our way, I walked around the van and noticed steel treads showing through on one of my rear tires. Right away I called the service station attendant out to look at it. “How far do you have to drive?” he asked me. “Over a thousand miles,” I responded. “You’ll never make it on that tire,” he said. “You’d better replace it right now.” So I did.
We continued on our trip and I began to think about the tire situation. What if I had not had the money to purchase a new tire? I would have been praying like crazy for God to protect us and give us safe travel. But, I thought to myself, since I put the new tire on, I’m not praying about our travel at all. Maybe it would have been more “spiritual” to travel in faith on the bad tire. At least I would be praying every mile of the trip!
Then I realized what I was missing in my thinking up to that point: God had provided me with resources–the ability to purchase a new tire–and expected me to be faithful with the resources he had given me. I didn’t need to exercise faith at that point, because I had been faithful in the use of his provision. However, if I had not had the resources to be faithful with, I would have been exercising great faith for the duration of our trip!
Here’s the distinction: God calls us to be faithful–to use the resources he has provided for us. If we lack provision, God calls us to exercise faith–trusting him to fill the gap(s) where we are lacking. To be faithful, we use the resources God provides.
Here’s what he has provided: “Today I have set before you death and life–choose life, that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Are you ready to travel an audacious, faithful journey with him? You have far more to gain than you have to lose!