That "Holy Jumping-Off Place"
Earlier this week I was having a conversation with a long-time friend about God, faith, and life, which, if you haven’t already figured out, are three of my favorite topics.
So this friend, (I’ll call her Lucy) called to ask me for some advice. She told me that she attends church every Sunday, asking God to help her in relationships, and for solutions in a few situations in her life…
“I’m in church every Sunday, and I pray to God for help all the time, but nothing is getting better. Sometimes it seems as if things are actually worse. Why isn’t He listening, Sam? Why isn’t He answering my prayers? Why can’t I be happy? Am I doing something wrong?”
No, that wasn’t my answer to Lucy’s questions! Fear was what I was feeling as Lucy was asking me for some insight into her petitions, and into God.
You see, I’m always telling people to give all their problems to God…to turn to Him in times of trouble…to ask Him for help and then let Him work. Look to Him for compassion, strength, understanding, and wisdom; all those things, and more. Ask Him!
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)
So I’m listening to Lucy pour her heart out to me, voice trembling as she fought back tears. And all the while, I’m praying, “God please give me the right words for her. Give me some insight, please. Holy Spirit, please give me counsel that I might help this friend who has turned to me for guidance. Show me what I am missing, that I might help her in some small way. Please.”
We continued talking, and for the next five or ten minutes I hit Lucy with a barrage of questions, trying to find some small clue as to why she continued to be so miserable with her life and with herself.
And then it hit me…
Lucy hadn’t come to that “Holy Jumping-off Place!”
What’s that? Never heard of it before? Wondering where it is? Before I answer your questions, let me share a couple of thoughts with you.
Have you attended a camp or seminar that included an exercise that would build your trust in other people? The exercise goes something like this:
You team up with one or two individuals. When it’s your turn, you stand with your arms folded across your chest. Next, you close your eyes, take a deep breath and, keeping your legs straight, lean backwards until you begin to fall. Eyes still closed, arms still crossed, you brace for the impact of your body slamming against the floor; but it never comes. The person standing behind you catches you before your fall comes to an abrupt halt.
I can easily recall the doubt and fear that swept through my mind the first time I tried this, even though I was with my best friend! And you know, looking back on that day I don’t think that it would have mattered who was standing behind me; it could have been my Momma or my Daddy, and I still wouldn’t have trusted either of them completely to catch me!
I remember the first time that I walked up to the South rim of the Grand Canyon. I was fifty years old, and I had dreamed about the day since I was a child. As I stood at the edge, taking in the splendor and awesome beauty of God’s handiwork, I was overcome with emotion.
And I was overcome with absolute panic! I just knew that, despite having been there for hundreds, if not thousands of years, that my weight was gonna cause the rock ledge that I was standing on to crash down to the canyon floor, hundreds of feet below me! Fighting back the urge to turn and run, I remained where I was; partially because I wanted to overcome my fears, and partially because I was scared stiff! I just couldn’t get my feet to cooperate with my brain! And I couldn’t imagine falling that far…
The Holy Jumping-Off Place is scarier than the edge of the Grand Canyon or a trust-building exercise could ever be. It’s more than the fear of falling, or a fear of heights, or a fear of trusting someone to catch you. It’s not found in a church, though I guess that it could be. It’s not found in a prayer or a petition for a relationship, or a job, or a material possession.
The holy jumping-off place is in our minds, and in our hearts.
It’s a place that we come to in our walk with Jesus. It’s a crossroad, an intersection, a “Y” in the road. It’s not only standing at the rim of that canyon, but allowing ourselves to fall, knowing that God is gonna catch us. It’s a point in our lives when we make the decision to completely put ourselves in God’s hands, not necessarily because we want to, but because we realize that we have to.
Here’s the thing: we’re always gonna make bad decisions, and make mistakes. We’re gonna have doubts. We’re gonna stumble and fall. We’re gonna have struggles. We’re gonna hit bumps in the road of life. We’re gonna have rough spots in relationships. We’re gonna be tempted by Satan. We’re gonna have health issues. And in the end, we’re gonna die.
Well, because we’re human. And because, contrary to what most of us would like to think, we are weak; even the strongest of us.
It’s when we accept our weaknesses, our flaws, our human frailties, and turn to God for all that we are, and all that we do, and all that we hope for, that we receive His strength!
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we stand at that holy jumping-off place, and jump into God’s waiting arms, we find…happiness, joy, love, strength, wisdom, and knowledge. And we find the one thing that I believe is the most elusive for all of us: peace of mind.
If you’ve “been there and done that”, you’ve already tasted the sweetness of the reward that comes from putting your life in His hands.
If you haven’t given your life to Him, I urge you to do so. Your life will change in ways that you cannot even imagine. Yeah, I know that the notion of giving control of your life to God can be a scary thought, but that is fear talking to you!
Starting today, starting right now, give control of your life to God. Yes, you can do it; it will only be as hard for you as you allow it to be. Need some courage? Ask the Holy Spirit for it. Don’t want to go it alone? Ask Jesus to hold your hand. Seek God’s face in prayer, admit your weakness to Him, and receive His strength.
You’re at that place right now. What are you waiting for?
He’ll be there to catch you.