One of the hardest things we do is to take a chance by stepping out. You leave the familiar and that which is safe to go out on a limb, and then turn and cut it off hoping the tree falls, but the limb remains airborne. Our first time doing this may be the hardest, but throughout life we are presented with new circumstances that make each decision to step out quite difficult. Each new challenge can produce feelings of apprehension just as profound as our first time stepping out into the unknown.
When I was a young boy playing little league, I finally got my first chance to enter the game as a pinch hitter. Our team was up by enough runs that the coach was trying to let every player on the team get a chance to play. I had yet to enter the growth spurt that would bring me from 5’7” to 5’11” so I was a bit self- conscious. And I wasn’t really that good, though I’d get better with practice and a chance to play. The first pitch hit me and I was happy to get on base. I went from being incredibly nervous to thinking I might do something great. I decided to steal 2nd base! I made the decision on my own. I didn’t look over to the coach to see if it was alright. I made it standing up! But then I heard everyone yelling and waving their arms. I finally realized I had stolen 2nd base, but the bases were loaded. My teammate that was on 2nd was halfway between 2nd and 3rd base. Poor guy was totally confused as to whether he should go back to 2nd or remain where he was. He couldn’t go to 3rd because our other teammate was already there. Kids and parents were yelling for the pitcher to throw the ball to 2nd but he was afraid that would allow the man on 3rd to score. The only choice was for me to go back to 1st. I went from having a big smile on my face to just wanting to disappear. If only God could strike me with lightning at least they’d be talking about the poor kid who died from a lightning strike instead of the idiot who stole 2nd when the bases were loaded. LOL! But, everything turned out OK. The coach later asked me what I was thinking. I didn’t respond. My silence was enough to show how embarrassed I was. But I took a shot. I never forgot that mistake I made. And I was grateful no one really razzed me for it. It was never really brought up again.
Life brings other opportunities to step out that have much greater consequences. In Exodus, we see Moses trying to make things happen himself. He attempts to defend a Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian and ends up killing the Egyptian. He then spends the next 40 years in the desert until God gave him another chance to step out and lead Israel out of captivity. He was somewhat reluctant to just say yes. Moses asked who am I to do this? And what if the people asked who sent him ~ what would he say the name of this God was who sent him? He then asked what if the people don’t believe that You sent me? And Moses finally said I’m not a good speaker and I’m not equipped to do this. He finally started to get God a bit angry, but God helped him by sending Moses’ brother Aaron with him. Moses stepped out into years of hardship, but also encountered the miraculous and a walk of intense faith.
In the book of Daniel, we see Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego step out in their faith and into a large, fiery furnace. They said they would serve no other gods and now they had to pay a price. But they were delivered without even the smell of smoke on their clothes. Daniel also was forced to step out in defense of his faith and spent a night in a lion’s den. He, too, was delivered. But not everyone that steps out is delivered safe and sound. The prophet Isaiah was sawn in half for the words he spoke. John the Baptist lost his head for the stance he took. Nearly every disciple of Christ was martyred for their belief. As it says in Matthew 19, they forsook all to follow Christ. Even their safety and their life.
We may not face such life and death situations every time we step out, but they can still be of vital importance, and they can be unnerving as we muster up the courage to take that step. We may end up with lasting scars, even if not seen outwardly on our body. But in the midst of these situations, character is being developed and faith is being strengthened. Stepping out requires a leap of faith, whether it’s in ministry, standing up for the oppressed, starting a new job, or taking a position that is in the minority knowing that you risk being castigated by others. But we must step out, regardless of the cost. The Lord says in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” We must be confident of the fact that He is in charge and He’s begun a good work in you and He will complete it. So many more things will be presented to us where we must make a decision to step out into areas that cause trepidation. But, as the Passion Translation says in Philippians 1:9, “He is bringing us into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things.” Blessings.