A number of years ago, suntanned feet man and I flew out to Colorado Springs for a long weekend of exploration. One particularly cold, wet day we ended up at Royal Gorge, an astounding creation. Two beautifully carved rock walls create a deep pathway through which the wild Arkansas River races and rumbles with unimaginable force.
We were brave enough to ride the tram down into the gorge. Secured with seatbelts in a caged seat along an outdoor escalator, it was a fun and slow, safe adventure ride down near the water’s edge and back. However, the wood plank suspension bridge, which spanned the width of the gorge was a whole different level of daring for me.
We wanted to think we were brave enough to walk across the wood planks to the other side of the gorge. Suntanned feet man and I locked hands and set out believing the fear would subside and we would be proud of ourselves once we arrived on the other side. Just don’t look down.
Sure thing! But, I couldn’t help it. I looked down.
We were walking on boards strung together to make a bridge across a gorge more than 1,000 feet above the raging Arkansas River. Besides that, looking at my feet step by step, I could see in between the boards straight down to the river below.
No kidding! What if my foot fell between the boards? I couldn’t handle it. We turned around and went back.
I wish I had braved it. I wish we could go back and try again. I wish I could cross the foot bridge and get the t-shirt proving I was courageous to cross to the other side. Maybe some day. However, when I had the opportunity I didn’t do it.
That’s a bit similar to the way I feel when I recognize the Lord’s nudging me to explore a deeper level of intimate relationship with Him. I want to walk more closely with Him. I want to trust more, and I know that means my agreement to venture places of my deep heart, which is a bit untamed as of yet.
I want to say “Yes” to Holy Spirit’s prompting.
Spiritually, I take the Hand of Jesus and walk across the daunting place, trusting Him to get me safely to the other side. I know the process will be difficult at times, and scary if I look down at the pit below.
And so I choose, with the Lord’s infusion of faith, to take His Hand, put my eyes on His face and walk forward on a new path of intimate relationship adventure knowing I will be ecstatic when I get to the other side.
As I finished my second blog post in the two part series – Self, you’re not really going to admit you’re afraid? – I was already asking the Lord to give me the words to explain how I got here. How could I communicate the fullness of these quiet time conversations between the Lord and me? And I believe it was His idea to write a Prequel.
Prequel: How did I navigate the bridge to the other side?
I’ve read this passage over and over. I have written the particular verses in my journal and then rewritten them as my own prayer back to the Lord. Over days and weeks, I’ve been asking, “Lord, what do You want me to know? Why have You led me here specifically? Please teach me through these Scriptures. Reveal the hidden treasure You have for me at this specific time on my journey with You.”
And then, on many occasions, I’ve sat and listened for His whisper.
In my journal, I wrote out my questions. I highlighted and circled particular words which caught my attention. I tried to imagine how I would feel if I were living in the widow’s shoes during a drought with a son I love. With an open heart, I honestly conversed with my Shepherd regarding my own circumstantial drought in conjunction with the truth of His word in 1 Kings 17.
And I wrote out the answers revealed to me through His word… by His Holy Spirit. Questions. Answers. Scripture. All written out in my journal as a reference map of this particular season of my life. A true historical record for the times in the future when I look back and remember.
As I began to type my first post, I wanted to distinguish the conversation participants for the reader. The italicized words (in the two posts) represent the words I heard within me – words of truth from my Counselor and Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God who lives within me. He is Jesus’ promised gift to us – those who have surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.
He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. John 10:4 niv
It’s not weird. Jesus clearly tells His disciples (then and now) He is the Shepherd and we are His sheep, and His sheep know His voice. We should expect to have interactive conversations with God. Scripture fully supports such an intimate relationship.
Though Holy Spirit clearly had a desire to expose my sin of fear and pride, there was no condemnation in our many conversations. Quite the contrary, my Heavenly Father saw the darkness of my own thinking and belief.
Because I am dearly loved by God, He desired for me to recognize the truth – fear and pride were lurking in the shadows of my deep heart. His loving desire was to expose the crippling fear I had been ignoring, as well as the dangerous pride lurking unawares behind fear as a cover. My Father knows this wrong thinking hinders my freedom and joy in the midst of my circumstances, and He wants me living unfettered.
If my earthly dad came to my house and saw some shadowy figures lurking in a dark room, not only would he be greatly alarmed, I know my dad would do everything within his ability to ensure my safety. Because my dad loves me he would instruct me in truth, and he would expect me to take action, and to live aware of impending danger. All because my dad loves me.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1 niv
I am greatly comforted my Heavenly Father loves me even better because He loves me perfectly. I am grateful Holy Spirit turned on the light of truth for me, helped me to see clearly, listened as I confessed my wrong thinking and then celebrated with me as I became unencumbered from fear of my future.
I am free!
And I am reminded to fix my eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of my faith. He will supply all my needs – even faith, and He will never leave me to wander alone.
It’s an exhilarating adventure walking the uncharted paths with Jesus. Though at times frightening beyond comprehension, I’m ecstatic when I look back to see we’ve safely crossed. I’m safe, strengthened in faith and expectant for the opportunity to reach a hand back to a fellow sojourner.
- Are you the adventurous type? Whether your answer is yes or no, have you ever wished you had overcome a terrifying opportunity?
- Do you see your faith journey with Jesus as adventurous? challenging? fun? boring? terrifying? exciting?
- If you sense Jesus calling you out into the deeper water of trust and intimacy, which of the above adjectives best describes your reaction to His invitation? (Choose one or more – add your own)
- Will you pursue this conversation with Jesus? Will you start today? What would prevent you from saying yes? Will you put your eyes on Jesus, take His Hand, and risk the scary unknown with the anticipation of looking back with the exhilaration of victory?
- Lord Jesus, I pray for my friends who are beginning today to say yes to Your invitation. You are the Shepherd and Your sheep know Your voice. I ask Holy Spirit of God for these friends:
- to believe they hear You
- to have a boldness to accept Your invitation
- to believe You will fill their hearts with faith
- to experience Your kindness as You instruct them in truth in the deepest darkest places of their hearts for their maturity and Your Glory! Amen.