These next few weeks are weeks with a lot of goodbyes. I’m so awed and thankful to see how the Lord has orchestrated my life up to this point, and I am amazed to see that the kaleidoscope of people, times, and seasons is constantly beautiful even as it is different as he gently turns it in His perfect timing. Oftentimes it takes an end to see the full extent of God’s goodness in the past season. As I find myself packing up my room and boxing up three year’s worth of hard work and memories, I can’t help but wonder what the next season will be like. There are so many emotions: excitement, sadness, joy, apprehension. At the close of last summer, I posted four quotations above my window that I wanted to remember and think about every day. One of them was this: “The smallest good act today is the capture of the strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.” I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that God’s dreams for me, and for any believer, are much bigger than we would ever hope to imagine. True, they may not be outwardly significant to the average observer, but from a spiritual standpoint, He has great works of faith for all of us to do. There is no time to be wasted.
I’ve been reading a biography of George Muller and am struck by the way God takes His children through the school of faith much like any teacher would approach teaching a subject to a group of students. He starts small, challenges us with little things, and gradually builds to much bigger things. I thought about how, almost exactly ten years ago, I took a day off school and spent most of the day praying about a step that I felt God wanted me to take. I felt that He wanted me to give my summer in service to Him working at a Christian camp several hours away from home. It was such a small thing, from anyone else’s point of view, but from mine, it was the equivalent of taking a step off a cliff. I was blessed with an extremely stable and predictable life, and had never moved, by the “new kid,” or done anything without the company of very good friends I’d known my whole life. This time, I was going on my own, to a completely new environment, and would spend the entire summer away from home. It was a big deal to me. God blessed those baby steps far more abundantly than I would have ever imagined, and some things came from that summer that had intricate and far-reaching effects years later that I could never have predicted.
Now, ten years and many more baby steps later, I am taking a new one. The funny thing is it feels the same as that rainy day off from school when I pondered the unknown for the first time. Some of the questions and doubts are the same. If I had a greater faith, I know I wouldn’t have so many “what ifs.” If I trusted more, I know I wouldn’t worry so much about how the details will be worked out. I have a long ways to go. However, God has blessed me with a little bit more experience and history to remember how He has come through when I have taken risks. I am thankful that I have Ebenezer stones raised behind me as reassurance.
Muller is one of the great heroes of the faith for many of us, but I am struck by his humility and his honest response to admiration that this great faith can be obtained by common means that are available to any believer. He says, “If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened.” It is a given that trial produces strength. It could never be easy, but it is available to everyone. I wonder what would happen if we lived according to these words? What great works would He have for us to do? What unseen battles may be fought before the mercy seat in prayer? How much more work is there for us to do? So what if our steps are wobbly and unsteady and everyone holds their breath as it looks as if we’re going to crash? Isn’t the important thing that the step is taken at all?
It struck me today that I have only eight weeks left until I am leaving the country. Things have progressed at a steady pace that I’ve mostly been able to track with mentally up to this point, but now the decision is becoming real. I wonder about many things, most too far beyond the present to be of any value. I am glad there is One that I can look to steadily for this wobbly step.