Taking steps of faith can be scary. You don’t know how it’s going to pan out. You know you can’t do it, at least not well, if the Lord doesn’t show up to help you. But you wouldn’t need faith to do something you were comfortable with, right?
Stepping out of your comfort zone requires faith in something, even if it’s just yourself, which I think is what a lot of people do. Personally, I require faith in Someone bigger than myself, because I know how I struggle to follow through when things get hard and how I’ve disappointed myself in the past.
A few weeks ago, our pastor, Bryan Sparks, preached on how we’re each put on this earth for a specific reason, but it’s important to be in community, small groups, to accomplish what God’s called us to do. For some time now, I’ve been wishing there was a small group for writers at our church, so after hearing that, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to start that small group. Often, when we ask the Lord to provide whatever it is we see a need for, we wait for someone else to fill it, but God’s answer to that prayer is, “You do it.”
I’m an introvert and not a born leader. At least, that’s always been my excuse in the past, so I’ve tended to shy away from situations where I may need to take the lead. Have you noticed how it seems like some people are born leaders? It’s usually the oldest child, too, like my older sister, my oldest daughter, and my oldest grandchild, but not being comfortable in a certain role doesn’t disqualify us in God’s eyes. In fact, I think God often asks us to step out of our comfort zone because it requires faith. Not much can be accomplished if we stay where everything feels safe and comfortable.
God doesn’t look at the way things are, He sees how they can be, with His help.
Look at the story of Gideon in Judges, chapter 6. When God called him to lead the fight against the Midianites, the Angel of the Lord greeted Gideon with, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage.” (Judges 6:12, AMPC) Gideon’s first response was to complain about the way things were, saying that if the LORD was with them, then surely He wouldn’t have abandoned them to the Midianites. Gideon saw the need for Israel to be free from the oppression they were under, so the LORD told him to “Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:14) Gideon’s response (in verse 15) indicates he thought the LORD had picked the wrong person for the job. He claimed, “my family is the least [significant] in Manasseh, and I am the youngest [smallest] in my father’s house.” That, I believe, is why God chose him. It seems like God delights in picking the least likely candidates for certain assignments. In Gideon’s case, God cut Gideon’s accompanying soldiers down to 300 men against an enemy army of over 120,000, proving He does not need the strongest, or best, or smartest person to accomplish His goal.
Consider Moses. He fled from Pharaoh’s presence after killing an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave. After 40 years in exile, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush (Exodus, chapter 3) and told him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out from under the hand of Pharaoh.
As shown in chapters 3 and 4 of Exodus, Moses came up with question after question showing his reluctance. Who am I that I should do this? If the people ask me who sent me, what name should I tell them? What if they don’t believe that you sent me? God patiently answered each of his questions, leaving no doubt that He would be with Moses and help him when needed.
Moses then tried a different tactic and started making excuses, claiming (and communicating quite well, I might add) that he was “not very good with words. I never have been and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” (Exodus 4:10) When God reminded Moses He was the One who made man’s mouth, so He would be with Moses’s mouth and teach him what to say, Moses outright pleaded with God, saying, “Please, Lord, send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13)
Isn’t it just like us to try and get out of doing something that seems hard?
Even though Moses’s last statement made God’s anger burn against him, God didn’t let him off the hook. He told Moses He would make his brother Aaron his mouthpiece. God would speak to Moses, and Moses was to tell Aaron what God said, and Aaron would speak to the people.
Wow! Isn’t God good? He could have said, “Fine! Just forget it! I’ll get Aaron to do it and you can stay here in the desert,” but He didn’t. God knew all Moses’s faults, weaknesses, and doubts in advance, but still chose Moses for this assignment.
I love that God is patient with us, understanding of our fears and flaws, and willing to help us in any way to fulfill the purpose for which He’s put us on this earth. He loves us just the way we are, but He also loves us too much to let us stay that way. God is for growth, and we can’t grow without stretching ourselves. As Pastor Rick Warren says, God’s more interested in our character than our comfort.
Tell me, how have you stepped out in faith lately?