What is the edge of your faith?
To me, this is a place where you realize you’re not sure you can take another step into the unknown…where you realize you need help beyond what you can see. It’s the place where you realize you actually need God’s help and can’t do it on your own….but it’s also the place where you must put your foot forward…onto the water (so to speak)…and start walking…to show that you trust Him. It is your personal boundary with an un-parted Red Sea with an army behind you. It is the moment before you step foot into that fiery furnace, that lion’s den, or even that Goliath–of confrontation. It is YOUR moment in the Gethsemane of any difficult situation, where you decide whether or not to “drink the bitter cup” and actually go through with it anyway. It is the moment when an incredible truth is placed before you…and you now have the choice to accept, or reject it. It is a moment to trust the unseen God…and to trust in your ability to do so. It is a moment of responsibility and accountability.
That is what you’ll find at the edge of your faith.
I must say that I have faced that edge many times in the past few years, and I still do even now in many different areas of my life. I have failed in some, but I have also triumphed in others. It’s always a frightening prospect for me…for I was not gifted with faith. It’s not a “built-in” feature for me as it may be for others. It’s something I realize that I have to build into me. And you may find yourself in the same place.
Roughly 3 years ago, I was asked to be an assistant scoutmaster over some 11 year old boys. I countered with the lamest excuse I could find: “I’m struggling to help my boys get through their cub scout requirements already. How much more will I struggle as 11 year old scout leader?” I found myself at an edge of my faith…a place that was not in my toolbox of personal strengths. I was no camper. Hadn’t built a fire since I was a youth 15-20 years ago. Hadn’t gone camping since then either. I was no “nature boy”, no hiker, not outdoorsy, couldn’t swim, couldn’t remember my knots, never shot a gun, never built anything with ropes and logs,…and on and on I went in my mind. I was boring. I was no Boy Scout in heart. SO I faced this request with a particular trepidation…like a legless hiker facing the Himalayas. After praying about it, and listening…I received the answer I didn’t really want to hear…but needed at the time: “The laborer is worthy of his hire”. With a deep breath, I accepted the challenge.
And I learned stuff! Stuff that I vaguely remember doing as a Boy Scout way back when. Stuff that I should have remembered. But whatever it was that I learned and relearned, I turned around and taught it to my Scouts. I was going through their path…and they were going through mine.
Two years later….and two scoutmasters later…I was asked to be the next scoutmaster. No! I didn’t want that! I was still struggling with what I was doing…and just getting beginning to understand how things came together. Yet, despite my perceived inexperience, I accepted the now-greater task…still with some trepidation…but a tad less hesitantly than the first time around. I did it…not because I was more expert in the ways of the Boy Scout, but because I knew that God needed me here. I am needed here…and I need to be here. I am still unsure of my footing. I still struggle with teaching boys. I struggle with being fun and purposeful…simultaneously. I still dread that overnight campout from time to time. I still struggle with maintaining a perception of relevance to hyper-hormonalized teen and pre-teen boys who think the world needs to entertain them instead of hungering to discover the wonders of it all on their own. It doesn’t mean that my assignment was a mistake or a waste of time. It just means that I haven’t grown up sufficiently yet and learned what I needed to learn…or that need to be in place to help that young man, somewhere, still.
I’ve had other tests since then…I know more will come.
The testing for those who claim to follow Christ is coming…and, for all intents and purposes, is already here. Those tests will come in all shapes and sizes…but they come personalized. After the Savior fasted for 40 days in the wilderness in preparation of his ministry, Satan took advantage of His weakened state to try to tempt Him. Still, Christ prevailed. After that, “angels came and ministered unto him” (Matt. 4:11). Our personal “40 days in the wilderness”, where we’ll be tried and tempted in our weakest moments, is either coming or already here…but it’s to prepare us for the task we have ahead of us. And you can rest assured of one thing: Help will come to lift you up…and sometimes in ways you don’t expect.
We may not always feel equal to our tests. In fact, we never will. A test isn’t a test when it’s easily conquered. There’s no “That was Easy!” button to press. Tests are meant to be difficult. They show us where we really need help.
And the tests always begin at the Edge of our Faith.
The Teacher is always silent when we are tested…to see if we will choose His way, or not. Realize this. Accept it. It is the path He calls “Discipleship”. Press forward…having a steadfastness in Christ….and take a step past the edge of your faith.
“Come,” He invites. So, keep your eye on Him….and keep walking.