Terrifyingly awesome

A great business opportunity had just opened up for the friend I was having lunch with this week. “Wow!” I thought. “What a terrific series of possibilities that would open up for the glory of God!”

Easy for me to say, of course. For my friend, the opportunity brought an equal mixture of great excitement and sheer terror. One minute all he could see was the risk, the next minute all he could envision was the reward.

And that is where so often God has us. One of my favourite phrases about following Jesus is the one my friend Don Smith often uses: terrifyingly awesome.

The kingdom of God brings with it endless opportunities to experience the supernatural and the mind-blowing, but at the same time makes incredible demands on us that stretch us far beyond our natural capabilities. We may complain about this, but we shouldn’t be surprised.

It must have been amazing to walk with Jesus and witness the endless trail of extraordinary miracles. But when some men eagerly offered to become his disciples, all he offered them was hardship and challenge. They saw only the results; Jesus understood the journey it took to get there. Not to mention where the journey would lead.

With Jesus, you cannot have the awesome without the terrifying. If all we had was the awesome, we would become insufferably arrogant, name it and claim it know-it-alls. You can be many things in this life, but you cannot be a proud, complacent, self-reliant advancer of the kingdom.

The greatest secret to stepping out in the supernatural is the willingness to become dependent. You have to step out of your resources in order to step into his. You have to give up your place of security to access his.

Jesus put it this way: “Seek first his kingdom and all the rest will be added to you.” But the seek first has to come first.

There comes a point in our dealings with God where he tells us to set aside our fears and doubts, and launch out in faith before we have the security and provision we are looking for. For Elaine and I, every major step forward in our lives has been taken on this basis. Every time I have argued with God about this, but to no avail. He sets the agenda, he requires our obedience, and then he tells us to do the impossible.

God puts us in a place of total inadequacy to drive us into himself. There he eradicates our pride, leads us through the valley of fear, and finally ushers us into the place of wonder that he has used us to do something we could never have done ourselves.

There are lots of things we do on a daily or regular basis out of simple obedience, and many of them do not require great faith. But there are times when he calls us to step out of the boat before he hands us the life jacket.

And those are the times when the kingdom moves forward.

Be prepared for times like that. They are when you’ll understand why God put you on this earth.

And don’t measure your challenge by someone else’s. Anything you do in faith that you couldn’t have done on your own is by definition a miracle, whether it is raising the dead or witnessing to your next door neighbour.

And maybe the next time you do it, in the grace of God, it’ll be a little less terrifying and a little more awesome.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash




Foundation of Faith Project  is strengthening generations in faith and bringing beautiful changes to the communities around them. Through teaching, mentoring and coaching, many are finding out who they are and who they are destined to be.  They are bringing more to their world. David Campbell is the key leader in this initiative and you can support him financially directly through Awakening Ministries.

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