Many of us have participated in some form of team-building activity, whether at work or summer camp or school. Meeting a challenge as a group tends to bring people closer together—the strengths and weaknesses, triumph or opportunity to fail, and the humor that often accompany these types of activities act as relationship glue. You’ve shared a unique moment together. The group has been connected in time and memory.
One common team-building activity is the trust fall. For those who have never experienced one, it usually looks like this: One person is challenged to stand in the middle of a circle of people and fall in a particular direction, only to be supported by the group’s hands to prevent them from falling to the ground.
The conversion process for a Christian can be likened to a lifelong trust fall.
God clearly points out that each of us needs to “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). These verses have been almost on ticker tape through my head these days as I encounter some particularly sticky challenges. One way to view these verses is that we are basically being told to trust fall on God, and He will make sure it all comes out right.
That’s a move that’s counter to my human nature—my desire to control my situation. In a spiritual sense, often times I’m windmilling my arms as I fall, desperately looking for something I can grab hold of on the way down.
But God brings me—brings all of us—through these challenging situations to prove again and again that He is always there to catch us (Hebrews 13:5). He is absolutely everything that we truly need to make it through any situation—and not just to endure it, but sometimes to actually thrive in it (John 10:10).
That definitely does not mean that He will keep us from the pain that our own decisions or those around us create, but that ultimately in learning through that pain and continuing to trust Him, things will ultimately be all right, even if our lives are cut short in the process. Just read Stephen’s story in Acts 7 for a reminder that doing the right thing (obeying God and adhering to His truth) equates to eternal life, not necessarily a full physical life. It’s a sobering yet incredibly hope-filled thought.
It’s only when we push God’s hands away, when we try to go it alone and do it our way (a way that only seems less scary at the time), that we fall flat and hurt ourselves (and often times others) in the process. That hurt, if examined honestly, can teach us that choosing God over our own desires time and time again is what truly keeps us from making the choices that can derail our lives.
The words Moses spoke to the Israelites thousands of years ago echo from the pages of our Bibles and ring true in every situation today: “You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:23). It’s when we “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:22)—when we focus on what we want instead of what God knows is best for us—that we get hurt.
I hope I can keep this concept in mind the next time I have an opportunity to trust God by obeying Him in an uncertain situation. Maybe there will be a little less windmilling on my part and a little more acceptance and surrender. God is there to catch all of us every single time if we learn to just trust that if we obey Him, He will never let us down.