I was doing some closing remarks for The Journey radio program today, and my mind is stuck on this idea of the gap between the first step of faith and God’s provisions. What are some of the emotions that fill our mind and heart while living in the gap? This idea was sparked by Greg Cromartie who produces our program. To help me craft a 3-4 minute closing, he reminded me of a quote I had used in my sermon from the Jewish Talmud (pious people rush to perform a divine command) and then wrote:
…but in between the decision and the doing there is often time to reflect on what we may be losing—the void. Tell us how to settle our doubts after we have decided to obey the command. Then offer encouragement for the time between jumping in faith into the void, (and feeling the discomfort, sadness, etc., letting go of the known may bring) and being caught by God’s provision.
After reading my comments below, I’d love to hear what you think about living in the gap (or what Greg calls the “void’) between the first step of faith and God’s provision.
Today we have discussed the story of Abraham…a man who stepped out on faith to obey the call of God. Now you have to admit, the call that God gave Abraham in Genesis 12—“Leave your country, your people, and your fathers household and go to the land I will show you”—you have to admit was a bit open ended. Go to the land that I will show you…I mean, how do you set your GPS for that destination? But Abraham obeyed God. And he did the same thing the day God told him to offer his son as a burnt offering.
The Jewish Talmud says: pious people rush to perform a divine commandment. And that is certainly true. Those who desire to make this journey with Jesus follow him with steps of obedience. But let’s make one thing clear. The time between the first step of obedience and God’s provision is filled with prayer and emotion, doubt and discouragement, the excitement of where God is going to take you and fear of not knowing exactly how you are going to get there.
Let me share a personal example. For years we prayed that God would open the doors for us to expand The Journey Ministry. We had been on a station in Pittsburgh for 10 years and believed God was leading us to expand. God answered our prayers in a big way. He presented us a God-sized opportunity to expand into 19 cities across the United States and through www.oneplace.com to expand world-wide. In our time on the air, people throughout the United State and over 20 countries have downloaded our messages.
But believe me, this expansion was a huge step of faith. We had enough monies to begin, but now we are dependent on God to provide in order to continue. I have no doubt that God called us to start this journey with you, and I have no doubt that he will provide—maybe through some of you listening today. But I can tell you that between the first step of faith and the provision—there are some serious emotions of excitement and fear, confidence and doubt, great encouragement and yeah, some days of discouragement as well.
So I encourage you to join me in this journey. Some of you know you need to step out and obey God…take the step of faith. He will provide what you need when you need it. And in between the first step and the provision, you will get a fresh dose of what it means to depend solely on God. I can promised you this…you will be stretched like you have never been stretch before.