A dear friend of mine who is wonderfully astute and gifted at spiritual discernment gave me something to ponder the other day. We met for a three hour lunch; to catch up, console, commiserate, encourage, laugh, support and, sorry to say, gossip. In the course of the conversation, we were talking about faith and what it takes to build and grow true faith in God. As we were talking, Amy stopped and said, “You know, it’s really easy to talk about faith when you’re strapped into a safety harness.” How brilliantly true and convicting is that?!
So many of us get caught up in THE PLAN for our lives. We spend hours, days, years designing and cultivating THE PLAN. As we reach each new step in THE PLAN, we add new goals, ambitions, dreams. We like THE PLAN. It’s safe, it’s familiar, it’s achievable. Yet, one of the problems with THE PLAN is that sometimes we inadvertently shut God out. THE PLAN becomes our safety harness so that when God starts creating some turbulence in our lives that would alter THE PLAN, our immediate instinct is to hold on for dear life to that safety harness which is THE PLAN and ignore the calling God is bringing our way.
Yet, as my wonderful friend pointed out, how can we truly have faith in God if we are only willing to stick to THE PLAN? We build our faith through trust, and we can’t trust if we don’t let ourselves free fall into God every once in awhile. For although we might have THE PLAN, God has THEE PLANNED. He has a direction and a purpose for each of us, and sometimes, that direction and purpose is contrary to the one we’ve established for ourselves. “For I know the plans I have for you, ” the Lord tells Jeremiah as Jeremiah is balking in the face of leaving THE PLAN. “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah, 29:11.
Take Moses, for example. He thought he’d spend the rest of his days herding sheep in the desert. And so he did, but not in the way he’d ever imagined. It was a long fight, but look at the leader and witness he became! How about Jonah? “I’m not going to those people!” He held onto his safety harness and ended up in the gut of a whale! Can you say, stinky? Then there’s Ruth, who, according to THE PLAN, should have stayed in Moab and married someone else. Yet instead, she heeds God’s call on her heart and becomes the great-great(?) grandmother of King David. And let’s not forget our friends Peter, John and James. THE PLAN was for them to spend their lives hauling fish out of the sea, yet when Jesus said, “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men,” they didn’t hesitate. And look where they ended up–impulsive Peter became THE ROCK on which Jesus built the church!
In my life, I had a plan–THE PLAN, yet God intervened. I took a drastic leap of faith several years ago which altered, for the better, the course of my life. God provided in ways I never imagined and my faith grew and matured. That’s not to say that I don’t still get stuck in my safety harness. One plan easily replaces another, but God keeps recalculating THE PLAN. It’s so hard to let go of that safety harness, but it’s so beautiful when God catches you on the way down, and the free fall can be an exhilarating experience. More importantly, when we take off our safety harness, we allow God to teach us to trust because he catches us every time. And every time he catches us, our faith grows bit by bit.
So, where is God calling you to let go today? Is there a new ministry he’s calling you to? Is there a person who’s been placed on your heart? Is God calling you to a new job or career? Or could there be a relationship you need to take the first step to heal? Whatever it is, I pray that you would release the clasps on your safety harness and let God catch you. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus says. “Just believe.” Mark 5
Blessings and Peace,