Right after that verse, a bunch of spiritual heroes are listed. They did crazy stuff. They beat up lions with their fists and moved to foreign lands and got parts of their bodies cut off because they were super faithful people who believed God even though they didn’t get the whole picture.
In a sense, they leaped before they looked.
This is a counterintuitive notion for the modern day Christian (really for the modern day anybody). We analyze data and crunch numbers and weigh options and make lists of pros and cons. If it doesn’t make sense we don’t do it. That’s just how we think these days. I do that so much.
A while back I announced to the blogosphere that my wife and I had decided to cash out of the American dream so we could save more money every month and give it away. Afterward, people applauded our decision. Some folks thanked us for living out such inspirational faith. Not so fast, faith applauders.
We sold our house in 3 weeks. In about a week and half we close on it and hand over the keys. Exciting, right! A great first step! So stoked! So pumped! Yippy skippy. There’s just one little problem:
We don’t know where we’re going to live.
I don’t want to overstate it for effect–we are not going to be homeless. We have friends who will take us in, apartments we can go secure, and the resources to stay in a hotel if need be. We will not be using rocks for pillows and carrying our possessions in a stolen grocery cart. But our goal of securing a rental that will save us several hundred bucks a month and be in the same hemisphere where we work, worship, and go to school has proven more challenging than we thought. Here’s the short summary of our activities for the last month or so:
- Look endlessly online for houses that fit our criteria
- Find a house, visit a house, like a house
- Consider making an offer on the house
- Someone else gets the house
- Repeat bullet points one through four about fourteen jazillion times
As it turns out, stepping out in faith is not so glamorous. We’re all about downsizing (we’re going to surrender about 1,000 square feet) and spending less (we’re going to save several hundred a month). But there’s a not-so-pretty side to deciding to leave before you know where you’re going.
We went to one house that had a funky glass-enclosed atrium in the middle of the living room. No joke. Floor to ceiling, four-sided glass, open to the elements above. I imagined that if you stepped inside it you would be beamed up to another planet through the hole in the roof. It looked like it had some potential for a good time out spot, but it was overpriced and-did-I-mention-it-had-an-atrium?
We visited another house with gnarly wood-panel walls. I’m all for wood paneling, but the urine my wife saw sitting on the counter was a little off-putting. And it was overpriced, too. We’ve probably visited ten houses and truly are not being very picky. But the goal is to save money. While we could probably be persuaded to spend a little extra if there were certain amenities, atriums and pee are not amenities.
Here we sit, about twelve days out. We’ve got a couple options, but nothing concrete. It’s a little unnerving. It’s a little exhilirating. It’s definitely overwhelming. It’s going to be okay. But we have absolutely no assurance of that. Of that we can have very little confidence.
Except for the whole faith thing.
You see, we leaped before we looked. Don’t get me wrong–we thought the decision through plenty. But we did not wait until we had a place to sell our place. Some would consider this foolish, and in about thirteen days I might agree! But lots of God-fearing people do foolish things every day in Jesus’ name that most people make fun of. I’ve been sitting in front of my computer running the diagnostics most of my life, afraid to take the plunge. I’ve been on the sidelines watching other people live out their faith.
Me and my pocket protector are doing just fine, thank you. No need to be rash.
My wife and I have painted ourselves into a corner. Less than 48 hours ago, we had no options on a place to live. If God didn’t do something, we weren’t sure what we were going to do. An economy motel was mentioned…briefly. There was nothing we could do. Houses in our area at our price range were non-existent. We had low-balled people and extended our search region and even asked people who were selling their homes if they’d be interested in leasing it instead.
As of now we’ve got a couple of possibilities. We’re praying one works out. We’re not sure what we’ll do if they don’t. (Again, we won’t be homeless, I know, but it’s still kind of a tough thing to stare down) But here’s the deal:
- The temptation is for us to try to fix it. That’s not faith.
- The temptation is for us to try to seek out help. That’s not faith.
- The temptation is for well-meaning friends to give us all sorts of pointers. We appreciate them, we really do. But we can grow to depend on our friends, too. And that’s not faith.
Sometimes, faith looks like someone jumping without looking. Jesus says if you want to follow him you have to count the cost (read Luke 14:25ff, he really does say that), but he is alluding to sacrifice required, not benefits that are guaranteed.
It is also incredibly faith-building. I’m no Abraham, packing up and leaving Ur to head to a place God will show me. But God hasn’t shown us our next place yet. We’re still waiting on that. And yes, we have started packing.
You know what the scariest part is for me? As a people-pleaser, I really don’t want to come out looking like a doofus. We made a bold decision, blogged about it, fully believe we’re doing what God has called us to do, and have no regrets. But in two weeks, if I’m hanging out with a dude named Leon under an overpass, some people might call me foolish. That’s scary to me. More frightening, they may doubt that God is who He says He is because He doesn’t do what we were expecting Him to do.
This is all very humbling, standing on the precipice with your toes hanging over the edge. Flying through mid-air waiting on the parachute to open. When you take a step of faith, there’s a possibility that you fall flat on your face. This possibility is increased when you don’t look before taking the plunge.
We have jumped. We believe God will do His work in His time on His terms, not ours. We are okay with that. And if we fall flat on our face, we fell in a pursuit of Jesus.
When was the last time you closed your eyes, counted to three, and did something crazy for Jesus? What’s taking you so long? Afraid to look silly? Worried you don’t have it all figured out? Nervous about getting all your ducks in a row?
Join the club. Risk something that will make you look like a complete fool if God doesn’t come through.
Join the club and jump.