There is something to be said for choosing to stretch your faith. People do it all the time. They might choose to take a job far from home where they have no known support group nearby. Or they might choose to support a missionary when they barely have room in the budget for making the ends meet. Or someone might choose to embark upon a new ministry that challenges them.
We recently decided to “stretch our faith” with the building of an addition on the 3256 Riverside Drive facility. Many know the story. It did stretch us and it did grow us. It was truly a journey of learning, and it was a journey of our own choosing. I believe God honors our efforts in trusting Him more. I believe that He desires for us to “grow our faith.”
In choosing that journey, we were able to imagine some of the obstacles that might be coming our way that would stretch us. We could run various scenarios about how God might provide and direct. In essence, we could calculate the risks and the possible growth. So as a result, we felt somewhat in control as we anticipated what we thought God would do. That doesn’t mean that the growth, the stretch, wasn’t real. It might mean that it was not all that God had in mind.
And I believe He used that time to prepare us for this time… a journey of His choosing.
When I think of examples of faith journeys in the Bible, I recall primarily where God chose the journey and the believer made the choice to take the path before them.
God called Noah to build the ark and proclaim the coming flood. And Noah put his foot on the path. God called Abraham to move to a place that he did not know. And Abraham put his foot on the path. In their bondage, the Israelites cried out to God and God called Moses to deliver them. Moses put his foot on the path. God called Joshua to lead the people into the Promised Land. And Joshua put his foot on the path. God chose the way that each of these people would take as He worked to draw them closer to Him.
Our route is being laid out for us even now. We would not have ever chosen cancer as an instrument to grow our faith. But our new journey is to be lung cancer–for my husband who has never, ever smoked anything. Nor is there a family history of lung cancer; there was virtually no secondhand smoke and no exposure to asbestos or radon. The irony of it does not escape us. That we are on this trail is clearly not by our design.
But we’ve put our foot to the path. Obviously, the more arduous portion of this journey will be on Bud’s shoulders. But together we are stepping forward … with some nervousness, with some uncertainty of the process, with some anticipation of watching how God works.
We cannot imagine the coming obstacles and how they will stretch us. We have no clue how God will provide and direct. Except for that ultimate “risk” of heaven, we are absolutely unable to calculate other risks or possibilities for growth ahead of us. But in this journey of His choosing, He will be with us all along the way.