I pride myself on having left the foothills of faith far, far behind me. Those early days when I was irrepressible with excitement because I knew I had stumbled on the one true elixir of life – God – are long gone. What a relief. Time and maturity have facilitated the blossoming of a richer and more profound faith; one which no longer needs to shout from the rooftops, seeking recognition or validation. It quietly goes about its business, content with what it is, and without any desire to explain itself to others. But there’s a price to pay for such equanimity, and that price is that the closer we draw to God, the more inclined He is to challenge us with invitations which defy logic or reason. That’s how we progress from the foothills and head towards the summit.
Last spring God tapped me on the shoulder and invited me to leave a secure legal career to pursue a wildcard proposition. To be perfectly frank, I didn’t want to do it and it terrified me. But much as I delayed and stalled, God wouldn’t change His mind. So, I took the proverbial leap of faith and embarked on unchartered territory, with the kind of confidence only faith can muster. At first it went swimmingly well, and I was mesmerised by the fresh challenge and stretch, marvelling at God’s benevolence at opening a door beyond my wildest imaginings. However, only months later the dream turned into an unrelenting battle as aspects of the role began to rob me of all joy and fulfilment.
Things eventually came to a head when my family stepped in and urged me to resign. I prayed on the situation and was reminded of Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”. I desperately wanted to leave, but what was paramount was honouring my relationship with God. I had only accepted the role because I knew this was what God wanted me to do. I had no personal interest in pursuing this path and was driven solely by a determination to live by faith. This meant I couldn’t walk away without God’s blessing and when He urged me to soldier on, I persevered.
We need reminding that faith is not an empty vessel or a collection of comforting platitudes, wheeled out on special occasions. It’s an extraordinary gift which must be lived through the vicissitudes of life, if we’re to appreciate its true value. Sitting safely on the side-lines and politely applauding the achievements of others won’t work. We must dive right in and live fearlessly if we’re to progress up the next rung of the ladder.
So, what’s the point of this story? Perspective.
Even though I was free to walk away, I chose not to because I wanted to honour my relationship with God. Nothing mattered more and it was this conviction which gave me the strength and resilience to persevere. God never wants us to leave a situation simply because it’s difficult. He wants us to transcend our challenges, overcome our fears and use our faith to propel us forward, so that we can scale the heights which once seemed beyond reach.