Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Without a Net

I loved circuses when I was a child. Especially thrilling was the high trapeze artists who walked without a net. Our walk in this life reminds me of those trapeze artists for it is really at times a treacherous journey without any nets to keep us safe. Oh, we try to make safety nets for ourselves: insurance policies; health insurance; vaccines; safe homes; high fences; and alarm systems. The list is long! But the truth is, we have no net until we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Then our eternity is set and THAT net is there forever. But wouldn't you know it? He then says, "Come and follow me," and we, as obedient servants, are called to walk without any visible nets. Some of the journey is just the everyday obstacles and trials that come our way. Other times, we are actually called to step out into a scary journey voluntarily! But we find we cannot do it alone. Often we stand on the platform, as the trapeze artist, frozen to the spot and looking down to what is waiting for us if we make one little mistake. However, it IS possible to walk through all things with joy and peace if we will only let Him take us by the hand and believe Him when He says He will never leave us or forsake us. The trapeze artist has had a great deal of training. God sends us a resident teacher in the form of His Holy Spirit.

Jesus uses the word "faith" and tells us to "believe" in Him. To us, that feels an awful lot like walking without a net sometimes. Hebrews 11 chronicles lists of people who walked "without a net" physically but spiritually there was always God's net to catch them. It is a scary thing to walk without a net even knowing that God is always with us and taking care of us. I think that is why it is called a faith. "Faith" and "believe" are not feelings. They are action verbs that move us off of that platform high above the crowd and out onto the rope, shivering a little at first but gaining confidence with each step as we realize that the One holding our hand is indeed faithful.

What do you do when the unknowns in tomorrow are frightening? What about when the doctor says, "It is cancer"; or some unexpected catastrophe enters your life? Is God really trustworthy? Do you still try to erect a net in case things don't turn out the way you think they are supposed to? Faith is walking without a net as you keep your eyes on Jesus. It really is the only way to walk. You see, we erect all of our "nets" to try and have some control in this life and the fact is, we have no control whatsoever over the huge matters of life no matter how we may feel. Jesus tells us this when He talks about not making plans for tomorrow saying,
"Tomorrow, I will do thus and so" when we have no real idea that we even have tomorrow.

As hard as we try, we are not, nor will we ever be in control, and that is a frightening thought at times. God alone is in control. He allows us to make decisions concerning whether we will walk the path as His child or choose to walk it alone but whichever way we choose, the only thing we really have control over is our eternal destiny. If we choose Jesus, God promises that we will live with Him one day and meanwhile He takes up residence in our hearts. If we choose to reject Him, our eternal destiny is set to be away from God and in torment forever and we are left to walk the high rope of life alone. But those are really the only things we have any control over and that is only by God's great mercy. We make our plans; God still controls whether they come to be or not. He is in charge.

He calls us to go places and do things sometimes that make our hearts quake. Scary events come to the Christian and the non-Christian. The difference is that the Christian can choose to walk by faith and avail himself of the comfort that comes from walking with the Father though we may not know where we are going at the time. That is the journey we are all on as we walk this earth. Will you choose to walk it by faith as His child even though at times it seems your circumstances will overwhelm you or will you reject Him and walk the journey alone? Either way, you have not gained control, but as a Christian, you have started a love affair with the Controller of Life and need never be afraid. And if fear does catch up with you at times, you need only to run back into His arms and He will safely carry you through anything that comes your way; anytime it comes; and for whatever reason it comes. He will not condemn you for poor choices but will still gently hold your hand as you walk through life's frightening events until one day, He just walks you on home with Him.

My story is one of a journey that was not chosen by me and it certainly is not a path I would have chosen for myself or my family. It involved physical events but successful survival was only had by spiritual ones. As long as I kept my eyes on Jesus and my hand in His, I had victory no matter how dark the path or how uncertain the earthly destination. When I took my eyes off Jesus, like Peter, I began to sink quickly. This was to be a faith walk; a walk without a net. The circus artists had it easy compared to the journey my family and I would walk.

Maybe you are on a journey right now and, looking down, you certainly see no net at all! Look up, my friend, for the Master of the Universe wants to hold your hand and get you safely to the other side. Come take this journey with me and as you do, it is my prayer that it will make your journey easier. You don't need a net when the One Who controls gravity itself is holding your hand!

This is just an excerpt from the book I am writing Without a Net but I felt the message in it might help someone along the way today!

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