Have you ever heard the story of the man who slipped off the edge of a cliff and was desperately hanging on to a rope to keep from falling?
The man screamed at the top of his voice, “Is there anyone there who can help me?”
A calm, reassuring voice answered back, “It is the Lord. Let go of the rope.”
The man thought about it for a moment, looked down to see how far he would fall. Then he yelled out again even louder, “Is there anyone else there who can help me?”
Have you ever been at a place in your life where you felt the Lord was telling you to let go of the rope, but all you could see was how things looked from a logical, human perspective? I know I have, and I was really tempted to ask for a second opinion like the man in the joke.
Everything about our human nature wants to see it first and then respond based on what we see. We want to see it then believe it. We want to know where we are going before we agree to start the trip. That is our human nature. And it flies in the face of what God calls us to do and who God calls us to be.
Look at the heroes of the faith and you will see people who believed it before they saw it. You will see people who went when God said ‘go’ even though they didn’t know where they were going or what it would be like when they got there. You will see people who walked by faith and not by sight.
When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, He allowed and encouraged Thomas to experience what he had said he needed to see to believe that Jesus was alive. Thomas physically saw and felt the wounds in Jesus’ hands, feet and side. When he did so, Thomas fell down on His face and declared, “My Lord and My God!” Jesus responded by saying, “Thomas, you believe because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The New International Version translates that verse this way: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Far too often, I find myself walking only by sight. But I know it is those times when I step out into the darkness in obedience to God’s call that He blesses me, and grows me, and stretches me.
What is God calling you to do that will require you to step into the darkness?
–by Rev. Alan Riley