Swish. Swish. Swish. The skis glided across the snow packed ice.
“I’m not sure about this,” I thought to myself, as I hesitated about 100 yards out from the shore. “What if the ice cracks and I fall in to the lake? Hmmmm. This feels too risky. Maybe I should turn back. What if I don’t make it?”
The deep groans of the ice shifting and aching, like the voices of hump backed whales, echoed across the lake. Intermittent, unpredictable and haunting in their tone, they underlined my doubt, and accented my fears.
But as I looked and listened ever so closely, I learned and began to believe that it was safe and I would make it. Imprints of fresh car tracks traversed back and forth in front of me. A pick-up truck sat parked in the middle of the lake, marking the spot of a devoted ice fisherman. The ruddy sounds of snow mobile engines grumbled through the air, as they zoomed back and forth across the lake in the distance. There were others on the lake -- others who were, quite frankly, a lot heavier than me, and they were not falling through the ice. Their presence reassured me that I would most likely make it across the ice, too, and I did.
Dear reader, there are times when the Lord asks us to step out and travel across the vast expanse of uncertainty. We look ahead and we wonder. Will we survive? Will we fall through? The groans of doubt and fear beckon to us, “Are you sure you’re going to make it? Isn’t it a bit risky?”
But, if we look and listen, we will see that God sends across our paths the lives of others who have gone before us, trusting God, and living full lives in Him.
We may witness people around us who walked through difficult times, or are walking through times of trial, and who live faith filled, dramatically different lives. They took a chance to step out and into the will of God, and they are evidence of His faithfulness. They are people with fresh tracks who do not give up, but wait on the Lord, seek the Lord and walk in obedience to His ways, not the ways of the world. Through their words and actions we learn of and remember God’s truths and of His great love for us, and we are encouraged and strengthened.
God’s Word also reminds us of those who have gone before us many, many years ago, sure of what they hope for and certain of what they did not see (Hebrews 11:1). Hebrews 11 is known as the “Hall of Faith.” Here, we read of great heroes of the faith – Noah, Abraham, Moses, Rahab -- who chose to trust God and who were commended for their faith. He used their lives in powerful ways then and He is still using them today to spur us on in difficult times.
In the vast expanse of the uncertainty of life, God is always asking us to trust Him. As part of His grace, He gives us the examples of others (either modern day, or from days of old) who went before us, and who chose to walk with Him -- people who experienced the Lord’s love and mercy, and were strengthened by Him, despite unfathomable odds. They are people who did not give up. They were all the more rich because of what God asked them to do and because of their choice to stay close to Him on the journey. They shine as a light in the darkness to help us see that it is safe to follow God, for only He is faithful.