Wisdom - just a step into Fear
January 13, 2010
When was the last time you faced an overwhelming decision? When it seemed like the road ahead was way too challenging, way too scary, way too demanding? Remember?
Remember your first winter on the planet when you took your first step and it transformed you from a rug rat into a two-legged creature. How brave you were! How come as we get older those transformation become too scary?
When was your last transformation?
Going from fully employed to unemployed?
Going from being unemployed to overemployed?
from being single to married?
from being married to unmarried?
Was it the birth of a disabled child?
Was it the loss of your own ability?
From sighted to blind?
From mobile to immobile?
From sharp-witted to scattered and confused?
Life presents us with situations where we find ourselves out of our own depths. These situations come at us all the time – continually – eventually. When we find ourselves at those places – like it or not – we have to choose. Will I retreat, hide, escape into a ball of denial? Or, will I take a fearful step in that direction?
That step is what faith is all about. Stepping into the unknown and seemingly overwhelming path ahead - is an act of faith. We hope we might be able to handle it – and even when we doubt we can – we step forward. That’s called faith.
And how many times have you discovered that – only after taking that step – you find help? Like the first day of school? The first big job? That doctor’s appointment when you got the news? The help that was nowhere to be seen when you stood immobilized and fearful on the brink of “what’s next” – suddenly appears once you take the first few steps. You discover someone who has traveled the same path as the one you’re on – and is there to help guide you. You discover resources you never knew existed – waiting just over the next hill. You find your way when you were sure you would be lost.
As a young man I covered a lot of miles for free. I also spent a lot of time standing on the edge of roads begging for a ride. It was on a gorgeous, deserted, highway on the west coast of New Zealand’s South island – that an old guy gave me some advice as well as a lift.
“People like to see you trying to get where you’re going.” he offered “if you’re walking instead of just standing there – they’re more likely to help you out.” That little pearl of wisdom is something I’ve applied in my travels ever since.
And since car drivers are made in the image of God, doesn’t it make sense that God likes to help people when they’re already on their way? You can stand still and pray “God help me” and wait and wait. Or, you can take a step in the direction you want to go. Somehow, it’s always proved true for me that only when I start off does the help come.
Of course, life on the road will mean some tough and challenging times. You can get baked in the sun without shelter. Soaked to the skin and all alone – who wants a drowned rat in their car? I’ve had to sleep in the ditch or a farmer’s field more than once – slept in a cemetery once – didn’t actually get much sleep that night – something in the bushes kept me wondering.
Of course, that raises the question of the big one. The big Kahuna of Transformations. The big step ahead - where we leave our flesh and bone behind. Stepping into the light – or – I believe we can choose at death’s door to run and hide – deny and defend our right to stay put – stop – no more moving ahead. We always have that choice in life – so why not in death? You know people who are the living dead – who have stopped moving forward – frozen by fear, doubt, cynicism.
What I’m sayin is that the road of faith, hope, and trust ain’t paved in gold. What you will find however – is pennies from heaven. All you really need.
So, the next time you find yourself facing a fearful and overwhelming step. Try to remember how you got through the last time. How you didn’t get what you wanted – but you got what you needed. How that fearful step was an essential part of making you who you are today. How much you’ve learned. How much you’ve suffered. How much more there is to discover.
And if you do remember – that’s called wisdom. Wisdom is worth sharing.