The Step off of the Platform

I went zip lining last week. For someone who has a fear of heights when I’m not comfortably contained in some sort of vehicle, zip lining was a good idea back when I thought about it with both feet on the ground. As we drove up the mountain in a former Dutch army truck that teetered on the edge of said mountain? Less of a good idea.

Actually, it was a terrifying idea.

I went anyway because everyone else went. Yes, while it didn’t involve a bridge, I “jumped” because my friends “jumped.” Also, there weren’t any refunds. So. There.

The zip line team put harnesses and safety equipment on our team and hooked us to the safety line before the first line. I saw my friends all step off the platform like it was nothing while I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest in 20 degree weather. I couldn’t decide whether to cry or embarrass myself by vomiting. Honest to goodness.

Then it was my turn.

Marisol hooked both carabiners to the cable and then I had to step off the platform, which should have been easier, but both of my feet refused to leave the platform.

Although in my head I knew I was wearing a helmet, a harness with redundant carabiners, hooked to a cable that would hold up to 6000 lbs, and I had seen a good portion of my team do the first line, as my friend Heather pointed out, you don’t feel the tension of the equipment working until you are pushed take a step off the platform.

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Don’t be fooled by my smile – I was terrified!

Much like like my life.

God puts these crazy steps in front of me. And I do everything I can to keep both feet where I feel safe. I make alternative plans. I offer other ideas to God, as if I could remotely control the events of my life. Even when I know I can’t move forward, that I can’t get off the mountain until I let go of the platform, I will try to make another way.

But platforms aren’t meant to be permanent living spaces. They are places for jumping off.

It’s been one of those themes that I’ve seen in my life over the past three and a half years: the audacity, the recklessness of faith. It challenges our commitment to this God who calls us to live a fuller, bigger life…if we’re willing to let go of our feeling of control. I remember the prayer that day walking my dog – Lord, what more can I do for You? What more can I give You? Apparently, it is my wholehearted acceptance of His will, even when it feels reckless or audacious.

We are in a transition season because we have another opportunity to trust the tension in the rope after we step off the platform. I have run out of justifications, excuses, and alternatives for God. I wrote the email that finally closed the door on my way.

There’s no going back if we want to enjoy the ride, if we want to move forward. We have to step off of the platform and trust…

I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, then you grow wings. – William Sloan Coffin

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The view of Agua (Antigua, Guatemala, 2013)

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Elisabeth Elliot on Waiting

I might have poured my heart out on the blog the other day. As I was cleaning up a stack of books, I came across one of my favorite books, A Path through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot. In the book was a piece of paper. I’m not sure what this is from – other than a brief title of “Waiting – Elisabeth Elliot”- but it spoke to me with where I am.

Waiting requires patience – a willingness calmly to accept what we have or have not, where we are or where we wish we were, whomever we live or work with.

To want what we don’t have is impatience, for one thing, and it is to mistrust God. Is He not in complete control of all circumstances, events, and conditions? If some are beyond His control, He is not God.

A spirit of resistance cannot wait on God. I believe it is this spirit which is the reason for some of our greatest sufferings. Opposing the workings of the Lord in and through our “problems” only exacerbates them. It is here and now that we must win our victories or suffer defeats. Spiritual victories are won in the quiet acceptance of ordinary events, which are God’s “bright servants,” standing all around us.

Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands. “Peace I leave with you; I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27, NEB). What sort of peace has He to give us? A peace which was constant in the midst of ceaseless work (with few visible results), frequent interruptions, impatient demands, few physical comforts; a peace which was not destroyed by the arguments, the faithlessness, and hatred of the people. Jesus had perfect confidence in His Father, whose will He had come to accomplish. Nothing touched Him without His Father’s permission. Nothing touches me without my Father’s permission. Can I not then wait patiently? He will show the way.

If I am willing to be still in my Master’s hand, can I not then be still in everything? He’s got the whole world in His hands! Never mind whether things come from God Himself or from people — everything comes by His ordination or permission. If I mean to be obedient and submissive to the Lord because He is my Lord, I must not forget whatever He allows to happen becomes, for me, HI swill at that moment. Perhaps it is someone else’s sinful action, but if God allows it to affect me, He wills it for my learning. The need to wait is, for me, a form of chastening. God has to calm me down, make me shut up and look to Him for the outcome.

His message to me every day
Is wait, be still, trust, and obey.

“This, then, is of faith, that everything, the very least, or what seems to us great, every change of the seasons, everything which touches us in mind, body, or estate, whether brought about through this outward senseless nature, or by the will of man, good or bad, is overruled to each of us by the all-holy and all-loving will of God. Whatever befalls us, however it befalls us, we must receive as the will of God. If it befalls us through man’s negligence, or ill-will, or anger, still it is, in even the least circumstance, to us the will of God. For if the least thing could happen to us without God’s permission, it would be something out of God’s control. God’s providence or His love would not be what they are. Almighty God Himself would not be the same God; not the God whom we believe, adore, and love” (E.B. Pusey, 1800-19982)

Rewind: The Season of Waiting (aka Day 21)

This post was originally written October 17, 2009. While that season of waiting is over, I was encouraged in reading this post again. I hope it speaks to someone…

 

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I’m in a season of waiting. I knew where I was going two years ago. My family and friends thought I was crazy. But when God calls you to something that seems crazy, you are able to move despite the doubt. But when you get to the season of waiting, those doubts that you ignored get louder and louder. You feel engulfed in a darkness, as if maybe you did make the wrong decision after all.

As I’ve been going through this waiting season, I’m desperately searching for God’s voice. I fell into this Psalm:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? […] Consider and answer me, O Lord my God…

David, Psalm 13

David’s heartbroken in this Psalm. He’s listening for direction from God, but feels forgotten. He can’t hear God’s voice and he can’t see God’s hand. He feels like he has to rely on himself, but that is bringing sorrow. When I read this chapter the first time, I imagined David screaming these words, shaking his fist at heaven. You know, with the rain pouring down his face, mud all around David. (CUE THUNDER!) In more recent readings of this chapter, however, I see him saying it more as I would say it right now; in a quiet tone, just more than a whisper, from a soul that is just defeated, deflated, and done.

When God gives us direction, we know where we’re going. We’re moving. We can hear His voice and see His hand. But we’re not supposed to move all the time. Sometimes, God wants us to wait for Him. Sometimes it is not about getting to that destination. Sometimes it is about getting to know God’s character.

Psalm 27 ends with a reminder to wait for God.

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait on the Lord. (v. 14)

The word for “wait” in Hebrew is qâvâh (kaw-vaw). Its figurative definition is to expect, gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon). Waiting means expecting God to do something, but not rushing to do it ourselves. Waiting means that we look to God and patiently expect His voice, His hand, and His goodness to come to us again.

A good soldier waits for commands from his superior. He doesn’t rush to make the next move because he doesn’t see the Master Plan. He should wait for the directions to come from one who understands how his actions fit into everything, how what he does next will lead to the next set of actions, which all lead to a goal.

But waiting gets old after a while.

Hearing God’s silence is lonely.

Patiently expecting becomes tiring on the soul.

This is why you have to read Psalm 13 to the end. Psalm 13 concludes with an affirmation of God’s character and a reminder of why David should continue to trust in God:

But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the  Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Because he can’t see God’s hand or hear God’s voice, David has to recall that this God has saved him time and time again. He chose to ignore his feelings of abandonment and focuses on what he know is true about God; He is a good God. The literal definition of qâvâh is “to bind together, by twisting.” Maybe when we get into a season of waiting, we are being bound to God. We have to rely so much on our faith of what we know of God that our faith is binding us to Him.

So, as I wait on God, as I wait for the next set of directions, I am going to recall the goodness of God in my life. He has never failed me. He has never forsaken me. Though I can’t see His hand nor hear His voice, I know that He has a plan for my life and a reason for this waiting season. I am going to allow Him to bind me closer to Him.

Ready

Dear Baby Shows,

Today, I have spent most of my day dreaming about you coming home. I can’t wait. I’m eager to kiss your cheeks and tell you that I’m your momma. I can’t wait to hold you and take you home. I keep looking at your new photos. I’m so excited that you’re getting so big, but it makes my heart hurt to know that you’ll continue to grow without us around.

(Also, I can’t figure out what size diapers to register for. You looked like a peanut one day and then a few weeks later, whoa! This will mean nothing to you, but your momma’s puzzled!)

We have a lot of time to make up for. Can’t wait to meet you, “little man.”

We love you.
Love,
Mom

Little One

Dear Baby Shows,

I think about you so much recently. Your dad and I cannot wait to have you home. I hope that you’re growing and strong and that you know that we think of you all the time. We’ll start working on your room next week. It just makes it feel all the more real. You’re coming home to your forever family soon. We cannot wait to celebrate you!

I miss you and love you more than I can ever put into words.

Love,
Mom