So yesterday, during one of my highly self-absorbed stretches of time, I was sitting there thinking, "What did Christopher Columbus think before he launched those ships?" Actually, it could have been any explorer: deGama, Magellan, Lewis & Clark, John Glenn. That instant before they left, what were they thinking? We always picture these dudes standing at the bow of the ship, one leg up on the edge, staring into space like Captain Morgan. "Got a little Captain in ya?" was one of the questions on the application to be an explorer, I guess. Anyway, we like to see these guys as fearlessly heading into uncharted waters and forests without a care in the world. They are some kind of super-human without fear and doubt.
Personally, as I thought through this, I found the entire thought process ridiculous. My hypothesis is that as they guys were ready to head out into the great unknown, they probably were throwing up in ye olde lavatorie. My reason for this is that no one can stand on the brink of something that big and be calm about it. The fear, the questions, the doubt, the responsiblity all has to weigh on you. Columbus wasn't just going out into the ocean and putting himself at risk. He was putting the lives and the families of his crew at risk. He was putting his own family at risk. He was putting the reputation of his supporters at risk. And he was putting the travels of every future explorer at risk. He had to know that. And I'm sure that must have been overwhelming to ole' Chris.
Why am I so sure of this? (And more importantly, why was I wasting precious Saturday time worrying about this junk?) Well, on Monday I resigned from my secure job with First Baptist to go full time with Defender Ministries. I went from having a sure supply of paychecks and friends and very little responsibility to having to live by faith financially and be alone (with the kids) and have a ton of responsibility. And it isn't just me that I am risking. I am risking my family and my partners and their families. And I am risking the reputation of those who support us. And I am risking the future people who will join our ministry. And I am risking those people who need our help. And all of that began to crush me down yesterday, and I felt sick. I feel like a fraud. I can play a good game, and I can do some good stuff here or there, but can I really deliver now that all these people are counting on me?
Well, that really did a number on me for a while. Until I started getting my Sunday School lesson together about Lot. And when you read about Lot, you can't help but read about Abraham. While Lot compromised and slid up all cozy like with sin, Abraham went off with God and lived a righteous life. And while Lot went with the logical and rational, Abraham lived by faith. In Genesis 13, when Abraham and Lot are going their separate way, Lot chooses the beautiful land and Abraham was stuck with what was left. But he and God had a little chat, and God told him that everything he saw would be his and his family's inheritance. What hit me was that Abraham was that he honestly believed that as long as he had God, he had everything he needed. He didn't need the lush green land, because he had the Creator of that land. He didn't need the exciting cities full of "fun people." He had God - the best friend you would want.
That's where I am. I may not know what is going to happen, or how things will be provided. All I need to do is trust that God is in charge. I guess that is how you can step out into the great unknown without being paralyzed with fear. You just need to know that no matter what or who you face will never be bigger than God, and that He won't lead you somewhere that He doesn't plan on coming along. I just need to try to remember that - and pray non-stop. I don't know how those explorers made it. I know that I won't make it boldly standing with my foot propped on the stern. If I want to make it through, I will have to travel on my knees.