True story from a few years back. In the fall we take out part of the corn field behind our farm house for silage to feed cattle during the winter months. What that amounts to is that a small portion of the field is chopped and bagged before the corn is actually ready for harvest. Most days, I walk my dogs on leash down a nearby county road; but after the silage is chopped, I like to give them the gift of being off leash in the cornfield. They absolutely love running free. Our lab Ali loves to follow her nose. But she could care less about chasing birds or small creatures. Bandit, our beagle something mix, is the exact opposite. If he spots a critter he is off in hot pursuit.
Early one evening we took off walking in the field. We got to the other side where there is a grass waterway and that is typically where we turn around and head home. Ali and I start back and Bandit heads up the waterway a piece. Unharvested corn takes him out of my field of vision and I figure he will catch up. Ali and I keep walking. Before long I hear him barking and turn around to see this short, thirty-pound dog chasing a full-grown doe! He is in hot pursuit and headed for the fence next to the railroad tracks. I think to myself, “deer will leap the fence, dog will turn around and come back.” So, the lab and I keep walking towards home. Before long I turn back to see what is happening next and low and behold Bandit is running back up the waterway, with a buck chasing him! I think to myself, ” He got himself into this, he will get himself out. ”
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Faith is a risky business. It means trusting in something that you can’t see. That little dog chased the doe because he never once doubted he was created to be a pursuer of other critters! He didn’t stop for a minute to get my blessing or permission. He didn’t think about the fact he weighed three hundred pounds less than that animal. It is embedded in the DNA of that dog to hunt, and he was hunting! The flip side of faith is the risk part of the deal. He wasn’t expecting the buck.
Faith and risk are directly connected. Faith means not being able to see around the next corner, yet trusting in something greater than yourself to see you through. In order to have faith that is real, there is commitment involved, a buy into something.
Faith is courage that has said its prayers which means there is an action step on our part, the buy in. Stay with me, the Bible is full of examples of regular folks, who, against all odds step out in faith and have big results! Think of the story of David and Goliath. David was a young buck (pun intended) and he had gone to the battlefield to take lunch to his brothers who were part of King Saul’s army. While delivering the food he heard Goliath hurling insults at the Israelite army. He, like my dog Bandit, never thought twice, David had long ago placed his trust God. David was acting on that already established faith, which gave him the courage to take the risky action.
Now think about this. You know how mean older siblings can sometimes be. David had just announced he was going go out and kill this giant enemy soldier of whom the best of the king’s men (including his older brothers) were terrified! With a slingshot, no less. I have no doubt he was ridiculed and it took courage for him to take the risk of doing what God wanted him to do and not to buckle under peer pressure, caring more of what other human beings thought. You see he knew that the battle was God’s, not his and that God was going before him. That is substance of faith, the certainty of trusting God will go before us. We know how the story ends. The giant Goliath face plants dead in the dirt. With a single stone. Oh, and BTW, David ran at Goliath before he hurled it.
It is not easy to step out of our comfort zones into the unknown. But that is where victory is found, in the mystery. Change is hard and scary, but we may rob ourselves of amazing opportunities if we cling only to what is safe and seen. Don’t forget we have a big God; a God who is true to His Word. When we step out and risk in faith it means giving up knowing and attempting to manage the outcome. When I do that my experience has been the end result is far better than anything than I could have imagined or dreamed.
Flash to the Bandit the dog. I said a prayer and trusted he could out run that buck and find his way home.
Panting and tired he emerged from the cornfield just about the time Ali the Yellow Lab and I got to the edge of our lawn.
I am pretty sure he was smiling.
Faith, it’s a risky business.
Be joy filled always,