When you undertake any risk in life, you know that at some point you’re going to question your decision.
If you decide to go on a steep hike up a mountain, at some point you realize, “If I were to slip on this trail, it’s a long fall to the bottom…”
If you invest in stocks, you’re going to have those moments when you look at the market report and think, “That’s my life savings sliding down that red graph line…”
If you’ re running late for work, speeding along the highway, you’re going to have those moments when you look in the rearview and say, “I wonder if that was a police car I just passed…”
Surely even the most seasoned tightrope walkers have moments in the middle of the rope, suspended hundreds of feet above the ground, when they question the sanity of their vocation.
Real risks always involve possible failures, and possible failures inspire fear.
It’s the same with a step of faith – we are learning this from experience. If we’re “praying with our feet,” there are going to be points when we have to walk barefoot on the gravel… what if there’s glass down there?? What if we step the wrong way and twist our ankle? What if it just gets too painful and we have to turn back??
When we begin to experience the reality of the risk, we tend to get caught up in the present reality – the fear and pain of the moment. But that present reality is overwhelming. At those times, we must look back and see where we’ve come from. I think this is why the Hebrew people built monuments and altars in places where they had important encounters with God. Jacob did it at Beth-El (Gen. 28). Joshua did it at Gilgal (Joshua 4). Samuel did it at Ebenezer (1 Sam. 7).
One of our new categories will be “Stones of Help.” That’s the literal meaning of Ebenezer – a stone set up as a reminder that God helps us (remember that line from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”?). We’ve already had quite a few of these as we’ve embarked on this journey, and there will be more. So we’ll record them here.
That way, in times when the reality of this risky business is all-too overwhelming, you can look back with us and say, “Look, God’s brought us here. And God won’t leave us here.”