So locked in you can’t see beyond

I do a fair amount of driving and there are a few routes I take pretty often in and out of town. While driving I’ve observed a common behavior. At first, it perturbed me but then gave way to some pondering.

I noticed how people would line up in a lane, sometimes miles before necessary, to exit onto another road or offramp. This seems to hold true for right or left-hand turns. This impedes traffic and causes unnecessary congestion along the way. 

A similar pet peeve I have about drivers are those who insist on driving in the fast lane—you know, the farthest left lane (in America) intended for traffic that moves faster than those in other lanes. 

These drivers hold to their speed and resist moving over regardless of the speed limit or line of cars backed up behind them. 

When it’s time for their turnoff they drive across two or three lanes of traffic to get in the right lane—where they should be already!

But this is not a post about traffic habits nor a rant about frustrating drivers. It’s an observation on life — and faith.

An observation

It’s easy to get so locked into where we’re going we don’t see any other possibilities than what’s straight ahead in our view of things. 

In life, it’s normal to get into certain routines as a matter of efficiency and even discipline. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But what if it limits our vision for what could be possible?

Walking by faith requires vision to see beyond

Walking by faith requires vision to see beyond the usual — beyond what everyone else sees. Looking beyond the obvious. 

Living by faith—authentic faith—requires a willingness to break out of routines, break from the pack, and take a different route. 

It means doing (or not doing) something in a way that seems risky to others, even foolish or possibly dangerous.

When reading about Noah, Abraham, and others in the book of Hebrews (Heb 11:6–19), I was struck by how unusual their choices were when trusting God — they seemed irrational, illogical, and just plain foolish to others. 

Sadly, I don’t see this same risk-taking faith in the church today. It seems suppressed, even disdained as unnecessary or foolhardy.

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

Risky faith?

Our life was often marked with this type of faith when we were younger. In the early seventies, my wife and I gathered our infant son, a few belongings and $160, and jumped into our VW van to head somewhere. 

We didn’t have a definite destination but headed up to the Northwest from Southern California. But we ended up in the California low desert — not our first choice of locations.

After five years, we set out for the nearby high desert to plant a church. A dozen years later — with the church well established and when we no longer qualified for government assistance — we left it all behind, along with our oldest son, and moved to the Philippines.

Over a period of fifteen years, we established two well-developed and diverse ministries. Our life was both full and simple. Our annual income still qualified us for the earned income benefit from the US government but wasn’t an option since we lived out of the country.

Our life was both full and simple

When we moved back to the US to care for my ailing dad, we again met resistance and questions. The two ministries were going well but we would need to give up our roles as directors to become caretakers.

Over the years, more than a few people along the way thought we were crazy, maybe stupid, even wrong for the decisions and moves we made.

Looking back I know we weren’t wrong, but what seemed normal to us back then too often seems suspect to many people now.

Praying for more risky faith

As I approach the age of retirement—I’ve heard them called the golden years—I’m hoping for more unexpected ventures. I’m not ready to retire and we can’t afford it. 

I still have work I feel compelled to do. Work I believe fills a needed void. But it requires more funds than I have at hand and it’s harder to take the risks we once did. But I’m trusting God to make a way to do so.

I don’t want to get lane-locked, even though it may appear golden.

I’m also praying for the church in America to look beyond the lane they’re locked into. I’m praying for believers to see the possibilities God will open up for whoever is willing to seize these opportunities by faith.

Reminders of radical faith

I read through a book—the best-selling Radical, by David Platt— and its sequel called Radical Together. Their titles reveal the content—living a radical life of faith.

What Platt says only seems radical because Christian believers—and the church itself are seeking a risk-free life rather than risky faith.

I read a similar book titled, Reborn to Be Wild, by Ed Underwood. But this was an appeal to those who were part of the early Jesus Movement but have since lost their radical pursuit of Jesus.

Reading these books reminded me of what it was like in the early Jesus Movement of the seventies. Our faith in Jesus and what we were led to do didn’t seem radical but normal

Our faith was simple and full.

It seemed risky to our parents and others but it was the nature of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In a sense, it was supernaturally natural. 

Not nostalgia

I long for those days but not in a nostalgic sense. We can never go back to recapture what was. That’s a daydream. But we can look forward in faith to a similar move of God’s Spirit. 

I know God is doing great things around the world. I’ve heard of them and seen some. God being God is supernatural or He’s not God. He continues to work in the hearts of those who will radically trust Him with their life.

And so I pray for God to do new and great things in America in the near future. The result of people living by what others see as risky faith. 

For hearts to be stirred with risky faith, there needs to be a willingness to look beyond being lane-locked. So here is my prayer — 

Oh Lord, please deliver me from being lane-locked in my faith. Help me trust in You as I did in younger years!

What’s your prayer today?

Blessed with a great wife & family, called & gifted—only because of God’s grace— to teach and train leaders, disciple, and write—as a pastor/missionary.
Blessed with a great wife & family, called & gifted—only because of God’s grace— to teach and train leaders, disciple, and write—as a pastor/missionary.

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