“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5c
About 7 months after Adrienne and I had gotten married, I managed to break my left ankle playing basketball. Because I have a history of getting hurt – probably due to an overwhelming lack of coordination – I had my own set of crutches. And because I have had ample opportunities to practice with my crutches I am pretty good and stable when using them. The Fourth of July was only a few days after I had broken my ankle. It is virtually a tradition in Adrienne’s family and in our church family there for everyone to attend the Texas Ranger’s baseball game and fireworks show every Fourth of July. It is always a great time even though our tickets were for seats so far up in the ballpark that you almost need an oxygen tank to get there. Normally the location of the seats would not be a problem, but on crutches… As I came to the bottom of the stairs leading up to our seats I paused as I realized the task ahead of me. My mother-in-law came up behind me and lovingly offered to go up behind me so that she could catch me if I lost my balance. At that time in my life I easily outweighed my mother-in-law by at least 75 to 100 pounds. Her intentions were wonderful and loving, but the simple reality is that if I fell not only would she not be able to catch me; in fact, she would have not even been a speedbump on my way down.
Often times I think that we look at those things that God calls us to the same way that I looked at those stairs. We stare up and look at the enormous nature of God’s calling and we wonder if we can really do it. We wonder if perhaps we misunderstood God. We even wonder if God might have made a mistake – after all if He really knew me then there is no way He would have asked that of me. The reality is that God’s calling never really is about you or me. The reality is that God’s calling is only really about Him. Joshua had just received his marching orders from God. Joshua was to lead Israel to take possession of the Promised Land. Joshua would have to deal with the unavoidable challenges of fortified cities, well equipped armies, and the Israelites – who were not exactly known for their faithfulness to God or their leaders. All of this would have been overwhelming, until God promises His presence. Joshua could not fulfill his calling on his own, but God could fulfill it through him.
My mother-in-law is a sweet woman who wanted to help and protect me. The problem was that there was no way that she could help me complete my task of getting up those stairs. If something went wrong, she wouldn’t have even been a speedbump on my fall. When God calls us to something – whatever it is – He will provide His presence so that we can be obedient without fear. Even if we think something goes wrong, our God is big enough and strong enough to catch us and protect us if we fall. What stairs have God placed before you that you have been afraid to climb?