“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
The Christian Life is often equivalent to one big, fun, terrifying rollercoaster. You know the really big one that takes you through every emotion? You go from anxiety, to laughing, to crying, to screaming in terror, to ultimately surrendering and experiencing relief. That is pretty much how I can describe our Christian experience especially if we look back over the past few years.
I often think of the call of Abraham that starts in Genesis chapter 12.
12 The Lord said to Abram:
Go out from your land,
and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you.
2 I will make you into a great nation,
I will bless you,
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
I will curse those who treat you with contempt,
and all the peoples[b] on earth
will be blessed[c] through you.
How often does God reveal His purpose to us yet never gives us all the details of what’s in between? God gave Abram an instruction, He told him the benefits of obeying those instructions yet He left out a ton of things in between. He was just supposed to leave everything that was familiar and enter into this journey of walking by faith, obedience and trust of Our God.
I admire Abram’s obedience to God’s call all throughout scripture. God would give him an instruction and with no questions asked, Abram would obey:
Genesis 22: 1-4 The Sacrifice of Isaac
22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered.2 “Take your son,” He said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah,and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”3 So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about.
Now let’s be honest. How many of you would have a ton of questions? Umm, I think my questions would have began like, “Why God? You know how late we waited to have children. This doesn’t even make sense? I thought you said I was the Father of many nations. This doesn’t add up God? What’s going on?”
Fast-forward thousands of years today, Abraham is indeed the Father of many nations and his name was made great. I believe God has called us all to do amazing things in His name. But I also believe that He is less concerned about our calling and more concerned about us having an intimate, trusting relationship with Him.
5 Trust in the Lordwith all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.
Intimacy typically helps to develop trust. You also tend to trust those who you know very well. The more we get to know our friends and even our spouse, the more we trust them. The same is true for our God. When we develop true intimacy, and truly are intentional in our relationship with the Lord it becomes easier to trust the process He takes us through. Because we are human we will experience emotions along that path. However, the more intimate we become with God the more we are led by Him and the less we are led by emotions. If you look back within your own personal faith timeline, you will see that the times you allowed emotions to take over were a waste of time anyway. I will speak for myself. I have to laugh at how dramatic I have been in the past, and I can imagine Jesus and the angels shaking their heads at me saying, “When is she going to learn we have her back?!”
Here are some of the event’s in our lives God has used to stretch my faith:
- October 2011, the Lord put “Missions” on my heart and told me to Go. Because I didn’t go to a church at the time that was active on the mission field, I had no idea what a missionary even looked like. Thank God for Google! LOL Shortly after researching various missions based ministries, the door opened for opportunities to go onto the field. Initially I didn’t understand it. But who would have known that 5 years later in October 2016, that I would launch an organization that supports missionaries globally: From My Block to Yours.
- October 2012, getting let go from a Government job, and having the Lord speak to me. I knew when I left that building that it was officially my exit from corporate America. 5 years later, we’ve been able to travel the world, pay off tons of debt, and help hundreds through our direct sales business.
- July 2014, God giving us instructions to leave our church at the time. The church we met, got married and grew in our faith in. This time was one of the biggest and most uncomfortable faith walks ever because all I knew was our previous church and now God was telling us to leave.
- January 2015, Jeff getting let go from his job in education as a Dean of Students to have every door shut in his face for a year. Only to see that now, 2 years later he was to be working in full time ministry, totally fulfilled and loving what He does. He is also in a Campus pastor development program at our new church and is growing so much as a leader.
- And the faith timeline continues…
I would be lying if I told you throughout each circumstance I didn’t have questions and followed with quiet obedience. There were times throughout the years I have cried, and just downright questioned what God was doing. Just yesterday as Jeff and I were in a new ministry assignment, I was experiencing terrible anxiety and had to press in the presence of God.
“I trust you…” is what I have to continuously mutter to myself as we quietly go up the next rollercoaster of life. We can barely see the bottom, and none of this lines up with what our 5-10 year plan was when we first got married.
But like Father Abraham we will go and obey each instruction. Because one thing these experiences continue to teach us is that God always has our best interests at heart, and His plans are better than what we could have come up with for our lives. Trust without borders means we must have the courage to lose sight of the shore…. Honestly and truly, I wouldn’t change this life for the world.
How is the Lord having you be courageous in this season?
Jennifer Lucy Tyler