“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Christmas trees were huge, all lined up close together with their branches touching each other. And she was just a tiny thing, barely able to walk!”
The Christmas season isn’t complete without my mom beginning one of her favorite stories with these words.
The fear in my gut as she tells it must be a phantom feeling born of the forty-plus times I’ve heard the story. Nonetheless, it takes me right back to those pokey branches separating me from the safety of my mom. The only way back to her was through those branches. I froze. Fear blocked my way as surely as the tree. My eyes were screwed shut, so I didn’t know Mom had turned to face me until she spoke. Instead of scooping me up in a rescue, she knelt down and called to me. Her voice encouraged me to venture straight into what made my toddler mind scream, “Danger!” and became louder than the fear.
Eyes clamped closed to block out the danger.
Arms outstretched towards safety.
Heart pounding, breath short.
Little legs not able to move fast enough but determined not to stop.
Branches pushing against me.
Listening to the voice I trusted.
Relationship trumps logic. It happened with me and my mom then, and it happens with me and Jesus today. I do my best to carefully plan, be responsible, and use common sense. I want to be a critical thinker who lives wisely. But I also want to be faithful. I want to learn to hear Jesus’s voice and recognize his clear call. I want to train myself to respond with a heart pounding run when his words conflict with my toddler-size logic. Just like I did with my mom. Just like Simon Peter did with his nets.
Scripture for Reflection
“…He said to Simon Peter, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word, I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help. And they came and filled both the boats so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:4-11 NIV)
Reach for More
Jesus’s word changed everything for Peter. He submitted his professional training, logic, and even safety to the preeminence of Jesus’s word. The result? A catch he wasn’t prepared to deal with, one that threatened his safety and resources for the future. Instead of worrying, Peter worshipped. He declared to himself, the world, and Jesus himself that he would follow Jesus to the end—because Jesus is God.
Where have you let logic and fear stop you from responding like Peter did, at Jesus’s word? Responsibility can quickly turn to faithlessness if it stops us from responding recklessly to the call of God. When Jesus speaks, it changes everything. It shows our logic to be toddler-size in comparison to the greatness of God’s plan and purpose. Fear will keep us stuck in the trees if we don’t respond to the call of someone bigger.
Dear Jesus, you ARE God and your ways are so much higher than mine. As I try to faithfully serve you using the knowledge and insight you have given, please protect my ability to hear your voice. I trust you to call me to something even greater than my logic can fathom. Help me to recognize it and then respond despite fear. I want my relationship with you to trump my logic every time I hear your clear call. Help my ear to hear and my feet to move at your word. Amen
Lori Florida’s life is all about her people. She’s convinced that being Mrs. to one and Mommy to eight will be her most significant way to serve Jesus. She wants to use her life to cheer on and coach the women coming behind her. Lori blogs at loriflorida.com.
Photograph © Annie Spratt, used with permission