Leaps of Faith

I am at a point in life where I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know which end is up. I don’t know whether things are getting better or getting worse. I have more questions than answers. My life is in freefall. You can read more about that here.

A few years back, I took a leap of faith. My leap took me from medical school to seminary. I left a defined career trajectory for the great unknown. I took the leap trusting that the answers would come. I stepped off the cliff believing that as I took the first step, the next would appear. I felt a sense of joy and exhilaration as I took this adventurous leap.

Fast forward four years. I still have no answers. No next step(s). No nothing. My joy and exhilaration have deteriorated into terror and despair. I’m in freefall, and I am anticipating a crash landing.

At this point, I am unemployed, with no real job prospects. My home is for sale, and has had only three showings since March. This is certainly not what I was expecting.

More than once, I have wished that I never took the leap. I wished that I had never left med school. I wished that I had done something (anything!) else. I wished that I had kept me feet on solid ground.

But it’s too late. I jumped, and I have no idea where I will land, or what will be bruised, broken, or dislocated when I do.

I know that it all comes down to this one question: do I trust God to catch me? The simple answer is NO. I am falling to far, too fast, to be capable of trust.

My pastor at church is doing a series on Authentic Faith. This Sunday, he talked about Abraham, and the great faith of Abraham. We looked in particular at Genesis 22, where the Lord instructs Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, to the mountaintop and sacrifice him. Abraham packs up, travels three days to get to the mountain, and prepares to sacrifice his son. At the last second, the Lord tells him not to harm Isaac. Abraham had passed the test; he really did fear God after all. It turns out, there was a ram in the bushes. Abraham sacrificed that instead.

What a nice story. But I’m not Abraham. Abraham had seen God deliver (Isaac was a miracle baby — the son of promise!). Abraham had a story behind him. My situation is very different. God has yet to deliver on anything he’s said. God can’t expect Abraham-level faith from me… at least he shouldn’t.

I don’t have Abraham’s faith, or anything close to it. What I do have is a lot of anxiety… and the tiniest shred of hope: hope that I did the right thing. Hope that things will work out. Hope that my moment of bravery won’t prove itself to be a moment of insanity. Hope that what was in my heart when I took the leap will actually come to fruition.

I had such high hopes when I took that leap. I was trusting God, and following after his will. I was acting on what I knew to do. I was being obedient. It was going to be an adventure of faith — the amazing unfolding of God’s plan. It was going to be wonderful. Things look very different now that I’m in the air.

I see now that leaps of faith are not to be feared. It’s the landing that presents the problem. Regardless of how I feel about it, I am in freefall. It really is best to avoid evaluating things while in freefall. It’s hard to think clearly when the ground is rushing up at you. Fear and anxiety drown out the voice of reason, and your one persistent thought is I’m gonna die! Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It all depends on how I land… wherever that is.

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