I’ve noticed several times in my life, usually when on the verge of a life-changing decision, that I am afraid of the consequences, afraid of the risk, and willing to fall back to things I hate.
For instance, when my final days at Wendy’s dawned and I was offered a higher-paying job on 3rd shift at a warehouse, the prospect of something new was daunting and suddenly the old-fashioned hamburger restaurant, as much as I hated it with its minimum wage and dead-end prospects, seemed like a comforting place to be. When I took the 3rd shift job anyway and worked it for a year, a day shift job opened and I heartily took it, but there was a wariness in my heart about leaving what I knew for something new.
Why is it that the things we hate, the things that drag us down, the things we feel imprison us, why is it that these things are often what we run back to when scared or daunted? I think it’s because what lies before us is unknown, what lies behind is quite familiar. I must make a decision to move on, but the familiar seems so much more inviting.
I think that’s why faith in God is so hard. Faith is not an easy thing. I think too often Christians glibly throw around the phrase “just believe” like it’s a simple decision. But it is not a simple decision. It’s a calling out of what we know, but also what we hate, to what we don’t know but long for. That’s why Jesus warned His followers to count the cost before plunging in. The decision to follow Jesus is a heavy decision that rattles body and soul.
It’s so hard to leave behind a life of sin, as the Israelites who came out of Egypt could attest to. Not even a few days from where they had lived their lives, they face some adversity and want to turn back. The allure of what they hated, which seemed so comforting compared to possible death on the banks of the Red Sea, was strong. When Christ calls us to faith, He calls us to follow Him into the unknown, trusting Him to guide and provide. And that’s what makes faith, faith.
So as I sit on the eve of a decision, teetering back and forth in indecision, I need to remember that it’s easy to stay comfortable and never take risks, but it’s harder to live by faith. Maybe I should better practice a life of faith, that takes the risk and reaps the greater reward…