What a summer it’s been! Family reunions, a health scare for a close family member (praise God for answered prayer, they have been healed), a holiday in the sun and time with dear friends are but a few of the things my summer has been filled with. How about you? What have you got up to this summer? I have also done a bit of reading both for relaxation as well as personal development. I have also been thinking a lot! Reflecting is not something we get to do as often as we could, but what a great way of trying to make sense of life and to hear God’s voice in a way that hustling and bustling through life never gives us the chance to do well. I am certainly more intentional now about making time for reflection than I was a few years ago, some of it not entirely by choice but by being made to – a by product of a season of waiting! He does indeed makes all things work together for good!
So I was thinking, what would have happened if Jesus hadn’t gone to that wedding in Cana? He was invited, that’s for sure, but he didn’t have to go. Even more intriguing is the fact that when the wine ran out, he didn’t offer to do anything about it. In fact it seemed from the exchange that he had with His mother that He was reluctant at first, to get involved, saying that His time had not come (you can read the whole story in John 2: 1-11). Mary would not take no for an answer and instead instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus told them. We know how the story ends. He changed the water into the best wine that the master of ceremony had had all day. John records this as the first miracle that Jesus performed in His ministry and the first sign of His glory. And to think that His hand may have been forced.
You will never feel that you are ready to take that step of faith. You’ll never be ready to preach that sermon, write that book, start that bible study, speak to a family member about Jesus, start that business, or mentor that young person. There will always be a million and one reasons why the time is not right, why you need more training, or why it may not work. But at some point in your life you have to get rid of the excuses and step out of the shadows. You’ll never know if you can fly until you try. You’ll never be one hundred percent sure that it is God’s will, or that you will succeed, or that you wont fall on your face. But that’s not an excuse not to try.
The very first time I preached in front of a congregation, all I had to go on was a burning desire to tell people about God’s faithfulness and a prophecy from a woman I had never heard of before about me being a teacher of the word. Was I scared? You bet I was. I was so nervous I couldn’t eat breakfast or stop going to the ladies. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong. Or the fact that as an introvert I didn’t really like crowds. But I knew that I had to get out of my boat of comfort. After all only one of two things could happen; I could either sink or swim. Oh, there’s a third, or I could walk on water. And I did. Literally. Jesus was there to make sure that I didn’t sink, but walked on water with Him.
I have heard that the phrase ‘fear not’ is used 365 times in the bible. I don’t know if this is true. I have never counted. But I have seen this phrase enough times to know it is important to obey if I want to succeed. The number one thing that stops us from stepping into the life that God has called us to is fear. Fear of failure, fear of getting it wrong, fear of missing His will, fear of what people will think, fear of what it will cost us and yes, even fear of succeeding. It’s time to deal with the fear and jump off that boat. If we believe as we say that His grace is enough then that means it has to be enough even when we make mistakes while we are genuinely pursuing His will.
What dreams are you carrying in your heart that are yet unfulfilled? What prophecies are burning a hole in your journal? What lives are waiting to be changed by your stepping into your divine purpose? What organizations or businesses are waiting to be birthed? The prophet Zechariah said this:
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand (Zechariah 4:10)
God rejoices when we start in faith, even when we don’t have all the answers, or information or resources. Our starting shows that we trust in a God who will keep His promises and see us through. Even when we fall (like Peter did when he walked on water) He will be there to make sure we don’t sink, and that we get another chance.
And for the record, stepping out of the shadows is just the beginning and it is not a one-time event because He keeps calling us to higher and greater. So even if you’ve stepped out in the past, perhaps its time to step out again. Perhaps you have become too comfortable (you’ll recognize this is the case if its been ages since you were nervous about doing anything) and its time to push out the boundaries again.
I would love to hear from you. Please share your own stories of stepping out and encourage others.