The unknown lies before you, a deep chasm of uncertainty. You teeter on the edge, undecided. And then from somewhere deep inside, you gather the courage you need. And you make the leap – a leap of faith.
People talk about making leaps of faith all the time – there are books, movies, and songs with the title. You often hear Christians use that phrase or “stepping out in faith” when describing a time they fully relied on God. One thing I know for certain, it’s way easier to talk about making a leap of faith than it is actually leaping.
Faith can be defined as an unquestionable belief or having complete trust. In my guidebook for life, the Bible, an entire chapter in the book of Hebrews tells us about faith. In Chapter 11:1, faith is defined this way, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
The entire chapter paints pictures of Old Testament ancients who by faith accomplished tasks God placed before them. Leaps of faith that I claim to make can’t compare to the staggering amount of faith Noah summoned or the absolute faith Abraham possessed when commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac. When I contrast my moments of stepping out in faith to their faith, I think my own leaps are really more like short hops. But that still doesn’t make a leap of faith simpler, easier, or less scary.
When hubby and I decided to move back to our home state, we experienced our own “leap of faith” moment. The circumstances were amazing; I thought that then and now over a decade later, I still think so. After living in the Pacific Northwest for six years, the Lord taught me to be contented where He placed us. Shortly afterwards, my husband encountered the third downsizing in his company, only this time the company was sold and he lost his job.
Our church family upheld us in fervent prayer, and God graciously provided employment with a local company. However, the new occupation was a permanent position in that city, which meant no more relocations or moving due to promotions. At the time, we were just extremely thankful that hubby gained employment and didn’t ponder the ramifications of remaining in the Pacific Northwest for the rest of our working lives.
One day a friend and I conversed about our parents, especially the failing health of hers. I expressed how blessed she was that she lived near her folks and could care for them, and I remarked how living a great distance from my own aging parents and hubby’s elderly mother was difficult. My friend bluntly asked me, “Why are you here?” Her question stymied me for a bit, but I replied that hubby’s job was the reason.
“So?” she again prodded. “Is that it? That’s why you’re here, a job?” Profound truth unfolded in those simple words; I contemplated it all day, stewing over her forthrightness. I wondered why her words struck and jolted me like a lightning bolt. Later, I reiterated my friend’s comments to my husband and asked him if we were committed to remaining where we were. He looked astonished at my question and then acknowledged he’d been thinking over the exact same issue.
A snowball of truth became an avalanche. As we discussed and prayed, it seemed God was showing us it was time to go home. Knowing we wrestled with this life-changing decision, a faithful prayer warrior friend shared that she was praying we would understand God’s direction for us clearly in simple “child-like” terms.
One Sunday afternoon middle daughter started chatting about church that day. She told me about Sunday School posters she’d seen that demonstrated how God answers prayer – one poster showed why no was the answer, one portrayed waiting for the Lord’s timing. Then she described the last poster which illustrated a little girl praying that her family could live beside her grandparents. This time God’s answer was yes. I almost dropped the dish I was drying!
After asking her if the posters had just been displayed that morning, she answered negatively; the posters had been there a long time. So why did she choose to tell me about them now? She just shrugged her shoulders. But I knew the Lord had used a simple poster and my daughter to show us His direction.
The decision to move back to our home state was one not to be made lightly. Our family included three children – two teenagers and a 10-year-old – and this could be a difficult change for them. We faced so many unknowns: could my husband find a job there, could we afford to use savings to move our household all the way across the country, how long could we live on savings if he didn’t secure a job immediately, could we sell our house, would our kids adjust, were we crazy?
We were certain God’s hand led us to the decision, and that He was asking us to trust Him completely. Not long after prayerfully making the decision to leap into the unknown, circumstances lined up unbelievably. Job headhunters contacted my husband about employment opportunities in our home state. Our neighbors purchased our house, so we didn’t even have to list it on the real estate market.
My elderly mother-in-law’s health was making her feeble so it became very apparent she needed us. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and we knew undeniably God was calling us to move home. One afternoon, I recall standing in my kitchen crying aloud with thankfulness, lifting my hands in praise to my all sovereign Lord because my husband had been granted a promising job interview the day after we were due to arrive back in our home state.
Hubby resigned from his job, we hired a moving company to move us across the country, and we started a journey that felt like an incredible leap of faith. It was not an easy road. The prospective job evaporated due to that company’s downsizing. Hubby was unemployed for a few months, but that enabled us to spend time with his mother. With no job, hubby was free to attend to her needs, spend time with her. Shortly after he secured new employment, my sweet mother-in-law passed away.
Plans to build a home on my parents’ property so we would be next door to them and available when they needed us also fell apart as the ground would not pass a necessary soil test for septic purposes. My own mother’s cancer treatments were not going well, and we received the news that her disease was terminal. Four months after we buried my mother-in-law, I helplessly watched my dear beloved mother’s losing battle with cancer end when she passed away too. After several more months of not finding a house to purchase, we finally found land on which to build our own home.
I am reminded that even though the saints of the Old Testament demonstrated unfailing faith as they completed God’s work, not all of them experienced immediate triumph over their circumstances. But every one of them was blessed by God for their faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
God loved and cared for my family so immensely that He carried us through our leap of faith — in both the highs and the lows — and I am so thankful. As we leapt, no matter what happened, even when life didn’t turn out the way we hoped or planned, we knew with absolute faith that He would not let us fall. He carried us over the chasm of uncertainty with His mighty hands, taught us all a lesson in faith, and anchored us on firm ground – the Rock of our salvation, His Son Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” I like that quote because I believe God not only sees the whole staircase, He designed it and planned it. I think He expects us to take one step at a time and trust Him completely each time we take the next step and the next and the next…..