The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Preparing for Difficult Assignments: Succeeding Where Others Have Failed

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Suppose God told you to step off the edge of a high cliff and just keep going. In other words, He told you to walk on air. But wait a second—humans can’t walk on air. They can’t walk on water, either, but Peter did for at least a few seconds. What do you do when God calls you to do what is humanly impossible? What do you do when He assigns you a mission which thousands have attempted before you only to fall flat on their faces? How many corpses can you step over on a battlefield before you panic and run away, convinced that you’ll be the next one to fall if you keep pressing onward?

When God calls us to do something impossible in the future, how do we prepare? The more we think about what’s coming, the more clearly we see the limits of our own abilities. Human beings are extremely fragile creatures—easily frightened, overwhelmed, and wounded. The more we contemplate our own frailty, the more threatened we feel by what is coming. Early on it’s easy to be deluded by the assumption that we’re some special brand of human—the exception to many common rules. But the truth is that we’re not. As the future rushes towards us, the differences between us and all of those who failed before us shrink away until there are no differences at all. We are just like them, and they failed to do what God is now calling us to do. They didn’t fail due to a lack of effort—they failed because they were humans, and humans are fragile, weak, and limited.  We need God. We need Him desperately in every area. It is this revelation that truly prepares us to succeed in the face of overwhelming opposition. If God does not make us stand, then there is no question that we will fall.

What is it that runs through your mind as you stand on the edge of that cliff, trying to work up the courage to step out onto nothingness? In such a moment, the great fear that seizes hold of you causes your vast limitations to suddenly become crystal clear. You realize how utterly ludicrous it is to expect particles of air to hold your weight. This just simply isn’t how the world works. When you step over an edge, you fall downwards. You will always fall downwards unless God has decided to miraculously intervene. So has He?

Before attempting the impossible, we must be certain in our souls of what God has commanded us to do. There’s no room for “name it and claim it” foolishness. Divine empowerment is not something we can greedily grab at whenever we choose. It is not what we want that drives the activity in this world, it is what God wants. If we are charging ahead without His explicit authorization, then we have no right to expect His support in the midst of it. But if we know that we are marching out on His orders and that our motivation is to please Him, then we can indeed find the courage to step off of that cliff. We can climb out of the boat and attempt to walk on water. We can face down the heat of the fiery furnace. When we know that we are acting on God’s command, we know that He will be with us, no matter what the outcome. When we have God’s approval, it really doesn’t matter if we live or die. We do not need every moment to look and feel victorious in order to know that we are on the winning side. Preparing to do the impossible for God is a matter of discarding every ounce of confidence that you still have in yourself and putting all of your confidence in God alone. The impossible will never become possible for humans. It is God who can do all things, not us. When He announces that He wants to do the impossible through us, He is merely calling us to be His vessels. He wants our willingness, not our strength. He wants us to follow His orders because of who He is to us.

If you know that God has called you to do the impossible, and you feel completely unequipped, good. Confidence in your own abilities is the last thing you want at a time like this.  Stop searching for some secret reservoir of strength within yourself because there isn’t one.  Focus on God instead, and on His endless resources.  When you know that He is with you, that is all you need to know.

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