Taking a “step of faith” without knowing what comes next is one of the most challenging things we do as Christ-followers. I’ve known people who have sold their possessions to move with small children to foreign countries without having return tickets. I’ve seen others give away valuables when they needed the resource themselves. The Bible is replete with stories like Abraham’s where God told him to take his household and possessions and move, but didn’t tell him where he was going. I look at all of these with admiration, because I know how hard it is for me to do likewise.
While the Lord does not call all of us to these extremes, He calls all of us to this same principle: trusting Him to the degree of obeying His instructions without promises or assurances of the outcome — and to do so even when it doesn’t make sense to our logical minds.
This is usually where my wrestling match with God begins. My first tactic is attempting to make a deal. “Ok, Lord, I will put my children in Your hands if You promise not to send them to Africa …or keep them there very long” My next move is reluctant obedience. “I will do it, but I don’t know why You are asking me to do this when You’re not asking anyone else!” Finally, there is the reasoned approach that acknowledges God has a purpose in His request. “Lord, it would actually be very instructive to my spiritual growth to tell me what You’re up to.” For the record, none of these have ever worked. The Lord loves me too much to let me get by with dinky faith and masked complaints. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
God the Father is an expert at keeping His cards close to His chest. Jesus said in speaking of His return, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) If the Father does not share that vital information with His only Son, then I should probably take a vastly different approach to His requests of me and follow Jesus’ example of trust. While Jesus’ ultimate earthly assignment was the sacrificial lamb for the atonement of sin for all mankind, His daily focus was on loving, teaching, healing, and delivering people. He did not stress or complain about what was ahead. The Apostle Paul likewise instructs us, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 1:14-15)
The process of obedience first, without complaint, is “work[ing] out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is God Who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (vs. 12b-13) For all of us who desire to grow in Christ, this is the straight path. The hard place is giving up our control to trust in His goodness. Jesus humbled Himself to become obedient to death, “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the Name that is above every name.” (v. 9) He is the immovable Rock Who demonstrated that obedience in the hardest place resulted in the Father’s greatest blessing. Obedience is always a choice. Will we stand on the solid Rock to elevate our trust?