The crucial step of faith

Every miracle begins with a step of faith. The feeding of the five thousand began when a little boy surrendered his lunch to Jesus. For him, that was a massive step of faith. It left him with nothing to eat all day. But there would have been no miracle without it. Jesus had no problem multiplying the loaves and fishes, but he needed something to work with.

And it’s the same today. We often ask Jesus to come in and solve our problems, but we forget that he needs something to work with. For every miracle, there is a contribution we have to make.

Sometimes that contribution is simply making the decision not to give up, not to get angry, not to despair, but to put the matter in his hands, believing he can do something about it. Many times it involves stepping out of our comfort zone to do something God is calling us to do that we could not do in our own strength.

This morning I heard a friend recounting the steps of faith he and his wife took to cross a national boundary, leave security, job, church and friends behind, and come to a new city in which they knew absolutely no one. And all that in order to plant a church.

Because of that step of faith, five years to the day later there is a thriving church in the heart of Toronto. And yes, of course, God must get all the glory for what he alone can do. But Jesus needed something to work with in order to make this happen. And that something was the step of obedient faith my friend and his wife took.

God is sovereign, but in the mystery of his ways he has chosen to make us co-labourers with him. In a way we don’t and can’t understand, he makes himself dependent on us to get the job done. He will not steamroller over our disobedience just to get what he wants.

Faith is something we often misunderstand. At the beginning and end of Romans, Paul speaks about the “obedience of faith.” The Greek phrase means that obedience is faith and faith is obedience. You cannot separate the two.

I’ll tell you why I find this encouraging. What makes it hard for me to think my faith is genuine is that often my feelings are running fast in the opposite direction. And so why would God do what I am asking him to do? But faith is not feelings. Faith is obedience.

Almost every significant step of faith I have taken in my life has been taken in fear, trepidation, despair, anxiety or severe lack of confidence in myself. That’s because faith involves stepping out to do the impossible. By definition, it’s hard, sometimes excruciatingly hard.

So when you come to the edge of the cliff that represents the step of faith God is calling you to take, just jump off. Never mind what you’re feeling like. It’s his job to take care of the rest.

And you’ve given him all he needs to perform a miracle.

Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash