It is time to leave. I gather my sons to exit the building and walk back to the car. I am in a hurry to get to the next building, to the next item on my to-do list, to the next thing on my schedule. But my son is not rushed; he wants to make the most of the journey. So he does not go directly toward the car. Instead, he walks toward the garden bed. He is not going there to admire the flowers, for sadly, it is a time of year when they are no longer in bloom. No, he is walking toward the wonder of… the ledge. The ledge- I see nothing spectacular in it. I see it as a structure built next to the garden to keep in the dirt. My son sees it as an opportunity for adventure- a chance to walk on a different path than the boring old sidewalk. It is a path that requires more from him- more balance, more dodging of obstacles, more risk of injury if he falls. But he knows, instinctually, that something which requires more from him will also give him more in return. He knows the ledge will give him a feeling of adventure, a sense of accomplishment, and a fresh perspective.
When I ask my son if he would walk on the ledge if I wasn’t there, he responds with nervous laughter. He may not need me to hold his hand anymore, but he does want to know that I am nearby. My presence gives him the security to take a risk.
God’s presence is meant to give me that same security.
Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10). He leads us to green pastures. But in order to get there, we have to leave the security of the pen. Following Jesus means taking the road less traveled. There may be parts of the journey that are dangerous. There may be parts that are rocky or difficult. But we are with the Shepherd. We need not fear.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). Our lives have purpose and meaning beyond our imagination. Our Father gives us gifts and asks us to use them. Jesus gives us transformation stories and asks us to share them. The Holy Spirit gives us guidance to make a change and asks us to trust Him. These are risky choices. But steps of faith are adventures worth taking.
I once heard Erwin McManus say, "Christ did not come simply to free us from death, but to free us from the fear of death... so that we can live a life worth living."
Go ahead. Walk on the ledge.