Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Every so often, you hear a story—an inspiring account where someone does something out of the ordinary. A person faced with a choice, stepped out against the tide and acted. Whether it was an unselfish, brave, or just an inspirational act, we tend to view these individuals as exceptional. Different than ourselves. We look at our story and their story. And, depending on our perspective, we reach some conclusions. We ponder. Would we act the same? Could we?
What’s our story?
We need to examine the story we tell ourselves and others. I don’t know about you, but I do. Look at your story. You know, the one you believe about yourself and your journey. If we’re honest, many times we hesitate. Don’t we? Instead of boldly stepping out, we pause. Not necessarily a bad thing, and one could argue that waiting before acting is wise. However, sometimes you have to step out and act. Ready, begin.
Other times, you can hesitate, but you still have to make a choice. You know, like the first time you dove off the high dive. You either jump or walk back down the stairs. Sure, life choices are different than jumping off a diving board, with more significant consequences. Here is where it gets interesting. What if God is calling you into a whole new area entirely outside the theme of your story? Now what?
We can find courage and inspiration because we are not alone. Moses had no idea when he approached the burning bush that God would tell him he wanted him to go back to Egypt, face Pharaoh, and demand that one of the most powerful men in the known world let the Hebrews go. Not just leave, but let them go and take everything with them. Why? Because God said. Now that’s a calling out of your comfort zone.
When faced with the task, how did Moses respond? Did he step up ready to move out? No. Moses essentially told God that He had the wrong guy. Moses’ solution? Send Aaron. Aaron was an eloquent speaker. He was a person who did not have baggage—like having committed murder and on the run. No, Moses wasn’t the one who should go. God should consider sending Aaron. Well, Moses went, and you know the rest of the God-story. (Ex. 3)
But that’s Moses. Alright, what about Gideon? Here is a man threshing wheat in a wine press. Why? Because he is afraid of the Midianites who were terrorizing the Israelites. And what happens? God enters the picture and tells Gideon he is a “mighty man of valor.” What does Gideon do? He pauses and then recounts to God what God had done for His people—those God-stories marked by cairns. However, this story doesn’t match Gideon’s current perspective of being left in the ditch to suffer the terrorizing of the Midianites or his stature in his clan—he was the runt. And it surely didn’t match the proposed God-story. Ready, begin.
What does Gideon do? Does he step up and tell God that he is ready to take on the Midianites with God? No, he looks at his story, the current situation, and then asks God for a sign. Not just once, but twice. I don’t know about you, but that’s bold. Just imagine that for a moment. Yet, despite the hesitation, what was the outcome? God used Gideon to lead three hundred men to rescue Israel under some interesting military tactics. (Judges 6) Now that’s a God-story.
Interestingly, in the New Testament, the Bible lists these two, and many others as…you guessed it, “the faithful.” (Heb. 11) Yes, these two men questioned God about what he had called them to do. So, what about us? What has God called you to do? Are you struggling with your story and the choices in front of you? Are you looking back and analyzing past decisions? What do you believe? Do you think God has left you on the side of the road like Gideon? Or, like Moses, you have too much baggage, lack talent, education, or some other requisite?
However, when God calls a person to do something, He equips them. He did that for Moses and Gideon. Even more surprising, God uses ordinary people—the people you would never expect. People like William Carey, Richard Wurmbrand, Corrie Ten Boom, George Mueller, and the list goes on. Others like us. Ordinary people asked to step up. Why? Because we know our stories, and we recognize we need God. We need His provision and strength to accomplish the task. If He has asked us to do it, He will provide. Maybe not all at once. Perhaps not until we step out, but as we move forward with God, He creates our God-story. When the time to be decisive arrives, the question is whether we sincerely believe in God and that He will go with us.
But we have to trust God. Isn’t that what God asked Moses and Gidon to do? Trust Him? Is it any different now? God may not be asking you to step out at a Moses or Gideon level yet. But what if He is asking you to step up? What are you going to do? Likely, you will question the task and your abilities—the thoughts about baggage, failures, or talents. You know the drill. The view that your story doesn’t match what God is asking you to do.
Leave it behind
Ultimately, there are times in your journey where you have to let go and leave things behind. Are there things – stories – you tell yourself that keep you from stepping forward? Stories that weigh you down and keep you from experiencing the fullness of your journey? Listen to the still small voice. Let the baggage fall and trust Him. Remember, it is a God-story. Mark this place with a cairn because your story is about to change. Ready, begin.
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