The Faith Factor

© 2017 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2017 Lynn Abbott

As we celebrated my son’s 22nd birthday this past week, I pinched myself.  When I look at the six foot plus, handsome, successful man that he has become, I shake my head.

How did it happen?  Obviously, God showed up in a big way.  I know without a doubt that I can’t take credit for any of it because I scrambled every step of my parenting journey.

As a six-year-old, my son boldly questioned my judgment.  Understandably so.

My highly intelligent protégé took one look at his bike that had been recently stripped of its training wheels and balked.

His expression told all: You want me to do what?  I’m supposed to balance on those two skinny little tires? 

“You can do this.  You’re ready.  I’ll hold the bike and run along beside you,” I promised.  “You’ll be safe.  I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

He began negotiations.  My apparently “absurd” idea would not be met without resistance. He offered all manner of reward if I would reinstate the security of those two wobbly wheels.

Of course, he ultimately learned to ride that bike sans training wheels.

Most recognize that training wheels are a temporary measure. We must all eventually move past training.  Over the long haul, those extra wheels hold us back.

But I tend to forget that when God calls me to pursue a seemingly “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.”

Suddenly, I’m bench-warming.

Actually, the Great Commission probably seemed an absurd project to those without faith.

Go into the world and make disciples? That’s a pretty big deal for a bunch of rag-tag, Christ followers who certainly didn’t have the internet or even a chariot.

But I most relate to Moses.  At first, Moses dared to dream big.  He dreamed of freedom for God’s people.   Enthusiastically, he plunged into the fray…

And met with disaster.

Oh, yeah.  Done that.

After murdering an Egyptian who beat a Jew, Moses fled Egypt; Mo’s good intentions had unfortunately landed him on the wrong side of the law.

I haven’t ever gone that far, but I certainly have stepped on some toes along the way.    I’ve also faced enormous obstacles.  Sometimes, I’ve fled the scene and hoped that someone else would lead the charge.

And suddenly I’m bench-warming.

Moses probably built the bench.  After his fiasco, he hid in the desert…for years.

Judging from his response to the Burning Bush at Mount Horeb, I’d say he’d pretty much given up following any big hairy audacious calling.

I’m sure God’s plan seemed absurd to the former Prince of Egypt.  After all, one simply didn’t march into the Egyptian Palace and demand the release of millions of slaves.

Moses made excuses.  He tried to wiggle out of God’s call.

“I can’t do it. I’m a poor speaker.  Send someone else to speak on your behalf,” he essentially whined.

Yet, God wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.  God promised to walk with the reluctant leader every step of the way.

Moses nevertheless wanted no part in such an “absurd” plan.  For this reason, God appointed Aaron as Moses’ assistant.

Moses’ fragile faith didn’t prevent God from using Moses in a big way.

But Mo’s initial fear did cause him a lot of long-term grief.

I am always safer in God’s hands than I am in my personal, comfort zone.

That’s what happens if we cling to “training wheels” when God has called us to something bigger and better.

Although Aaron’s company initially offered Moses a degree of comfort, Aaron actually caused a lot of trouble over the long haul.

Remember the people’s worship of the golden calf while Moses met with God on Sinai?  Yep. In Mo’s absence, brother Aaron succumbed to the people’s demands and crafted the idol.

Later Aaron and Miriam attempted to overthrow Moses, (Numbers 16).

Aaron ultimately made Moses’ great responsibility for God’s people more difficult than it needed to be.  Moses’ fear had complicated things.

Training wheels provide comfort as we learn.  But they were never meant to serve as a substitute for mature faith in our Sovereign-Shepherd.

God’s calling certainly scares me at times. And sometimes, I want to retreat: give up and let others answer God’s call.

But God has promised that if you and I wait on Him, we will “mount up with wings like eagles” and “run and not grow weary,” (Isaiah 40:31).

Yes, I am learning that no matter how audacious the plan may seem to me, pursuing life with Abba is always better than sitting safely in my comfort zone.

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good:  I have made the Lord GOD (Yahweh) my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works,” Psalm 73:28

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