Have you ever looked back on your life and thought, “Ah, yes, I’ve got this”? Then there are moments when the world feels as though it’s spinning too fast on its axis and you want to shout, “Stop the world and let me get off!” I have many of these moments. Let me share…
Six Flags Great America in Chicago. Finally, Neil and I found the perfect ride: The Dare Devil. A free fall swing, 12.5 stories up. Oh, the thrill! Cliff jumping into a lake; repelling the sides of mountains; and white water rafting had nothing on this swing! This ride just became “next” on my to-do list.
After being briefed of our instructions from the ride instructor, Neil and I were strapped into a side by side “body sling” and began our 150 foot ascent. We reviewed our instructions together on our way up.
“OK, Neil, when the instructor says, ‘Three-two-one…Fly’, you pull the cord in your left hand. That will release us into a free fall.”
“OK, got it.”
Once we hit about the 75 foot mark, the people below resembled toy figurines and began looking a little too small for my comfort. I felt my heart pounding inside my chest.
100 feet…I just crossed sky diving off my list (well, for the moment). I began to question what was going through my head while I still had my feet on the ground. Neil too easily read my mind by my white face and began having fun with me.
“I sure hope this thing works.” What?!
125 feet and counting… “I mean, do I pull this cord? Or was it this one?” I couldn’t feel my heartbeat any more. Did it stop? I tried to stay cool, but I know my thoughts became apparent on my forehead’s visible worry lines.
150 feet. We stopped. Pause. Suspended. The instructor’s voice came over the loud speaker. “OK, Okay, Neil, 3-2-1…(dramatic pause) FLY!” Neil pulled the cord.
I’m not a screamer, but I’m pretty sure Neil went temporarily deaf in one ear as a long, shrill sound escape my vocal cords. My stomach detached itself and made its way to my throat. I’m going to die! Right here, right now! I. Am. Going. To. Die!
Seconds later, after that first swing through, I felt like an infant in her baby-swing! As the swing slowed down and our feet finally touched the ground, I was ready for more! A little too expensive for a second trip up and back, but the first one was definitely worth the thrill!
Back to today…
Since then, I’ve had many of those life moments that leave me hanging, questioning, “What am I doing?” I’ve noticed that they usually come during times when I survey my circumstances and realize I’m in over my head.
I am reminded of Peter who wanted to believe that it was really Jesus walking on the water towards him and his buddies in the boat in the middle of a storm. “Lord, if that’s really You, then call me to You on the water.”
“Come, Peter.” Peter stood. He didn’t think twice. He stepped onto the water and began walking towards Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-31) Who knows how far he really got before he realized he was walking on water. I think we often we picture Peter about five steps out before he realized the gravity of his situation. I wonder if he was a good twenty or thirty feet out before he had a reality check. I wonder this because it seems God waits until I’m out there, completely in over my head before my “reality check” hits me full in the face. Once begun, there’s no going back, leaving me with only two options: stop and sink, or trust God for the outcome and keep moving forward. However far out Peter walked, he couldn’t pull a “Scooby-Doo”: turn around, and run back to the boat. It was sink or look to the One who called him and keep moving. Peter was fine…until he thought, What am I doing?
“Lord, save me!” But he didn’t need saving. He was already doing what he was called to do in that moment, which, in fact, was a miracle, but it all seemed quite normal until he looked around and took a human approach to Christ’s bidding.
How often do I step out in faith, fully equipped to carry out God’s calling, and I look around, believing lies, questioning? Can God really use my family? My boys? Me? Wait a minute, Lord. What am I doing? Panic. There’s NO going back!
Flashback to 12.5 stories. Momentary suspension.
I remember when Neil pulled that cord, I screamed half way down, but once I realized I was safe in the midst of that free fall, I truly felt as though I was flying! Once Peter realized he was safe in Jesus’ arms, although Jesus asked him why he doubted, did his heart soar at what Jesus had called him to do? I wonder if in that moment, Peter began to understand the contrast between how the calling of God in our lives supersedes the limitations that this life mandates. We can see how the gravity of that truth seemed to sink into Peter’s heart as we follow the rest of his life.
There is no need for fear, just obedience. We can walk forward confidently trusting God for the ability to carry out His calling in our lives regardless of the circumstances.
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” –Phil 1:6