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Vol. 5 No. 15 April 8, 2002
If you drive about forty-five minutes from our house to the top of Lookout Mountain, then head toward the West Brow, you can find a place where Hang Gliders practice their sport. We go there occasionally to watch, not to jump. Every time we go I think about how exciting it must be to leave the top of the mountain, sail over the valley, and land in the green field across the valley.
The last time we were there the man in charge asked my wife and I if we would like to try it. "No thanks." I said. "I'd love to experience what it feels like once you are airborne and gliding in the breeze, but that first step would kill me." He laughed a little, then proceeded to tell us that by the time you get to the point where you could leave the platform you have received so much training that that first step is not nearly as scary as it is appears. I told that made sense, but still declined his offer.
Even though I understand his point and know the training could make the difference between being an interested observer and a bold jumper, it is still hard for me to imagine what it would be like to take that first step off the platform. Because of that fear (I like to think there is some wisdom in that decision as well), chances are I will never know the thrill of flight or the exhilaration of the experience. That first step is just too much to overcome.
The same thing happens to us sometimes when we look across the valley of life at all there is to enjoy, all there is to know, and all there is to experience. We want the joy, we want to knowledge, and we want the experience, but quite often that first step keeps us from taking that leap of faith. Some people will never marry because they are afraid of that first step. Some people will marry but never experience a really fulfilling relationship with their mate because they are afraid of that first step of opening up and sharing their heart. Some people will never experience true friendship because they are afraid to take that first step into the world of relationships. Some people will never know real fulfillment in their work because taking that first step toward leaving what is familiar and comfortable, they prefer to remain where they are and dream of what could be. Some people will never know the abundant life God has planned for them because that first step of faith is too frightening.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Before the Hang Glider takes the first step off the platform at the top of the mountain, he must be certain that the wind is right even though he cannot see the wind. He must be sure that his gear is right and that his training will keep him safe. Being confident those things, he can leap from the platform and smile with the wind in his face as he glides across the valley.
Before a person commits his life to God he must be sure of one thing: God is there. That's all the training he needs to take that first step. Once that frist step is taken the abundant life will begin.
The rewards are there for all who are willing to take the first step. Are you on the platform watching, wondering, wishing, hoping, dreaming? Is God asking you to take that first step toward Him?
To stand and watch while others hang glide is enough for me. To watch while others experience the joys of a realtionship with the Father is not acceptable. The first step can be tough, but He is there carry you as you fly and to make sure the landing will be safe.
Take the first step,
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