I’ve always thought daredevils were crazy. Not really my deal. Close friends of mine are adrenaline junkies, but I usually opt for the path of repose. They jump off cliffs at the beach; I sip soda from the sand.
But I’ll never forget the first time I tried to gambade off a bluff with some of my buddies. The perch didn’t look that high from the safety of the boat, but as I clambered up the slippery rock face, and stood at the precipice of the highest drop I’d ever jumped, my abdomen and my Adam’s apple shook hands.
“The first step’s a doozie,” I smirked to my compatriot. “What in the world have I gotten myself into?”
A high dive will do that to you. Free falls from height should strike a little fear in your heart, right? It only stands to reason. “People have killed themselves doing this, haven’t they? My mother wouldn’t approve!” But there are times in our lives when the only way to step into the next big adventure is to take a leap into thin air.
One year ago today, I took another leap—another cliff jump—another free fall into our next great adventure as a family. A year ago last week, I stood on the platform of a church I had served for nearly a decade—a church I had built a great life and ministry in—a church that had been the nursery of our little Tribe. I stood on a gigantic platform of safety and announced that my wife and I would be holding hands and vaulting into a tiny, altogether different sort of pool. We would follow the call of God and plant a church in water we’d never jumped into before. And there was room for only two on the platform at a time.
As we leaped, my abdomen and my Adam’s apple shook hands again. The first step was indeed a doozie. But as we left the ledge of security, we experienced the freedom that comes in the free-fall of faith. We gathered with an intrepid band of other adrenaline junkies in the backyard of a family friend, and began the adventure of building a brand new church from scratch.
The rock face was a little slippery at times. The adrenaline rush would swing between fun and fear on occasion. But we had front row seats to see God do something that could never have been witnessed from the conservative seat of serenity I would have normally chosen. Here in the free-fall, we saw God provide miraculously for His children. We watched a Jesus-calling begin to be answered by scores and scores of people saying, “Yes,” to Him. I watched my own life being stretched and strengthened as I learned first-hand what it is to depend completely on Christ, and unequivocally know His love for me.
A year ago today, I stood holding hands with my wife atop the scariest cliff we’d ever seen. There was only room for the two of us—no safety in numbers. Just the gut wrenching, “go-big-or-go-home” dive into the dream of God. But to our delight and amazement, God wasn’t hollering to us from Heaven. He wasn’t cheerleading from the cliff-face. He was welcoming us from the water. He was already in. He had already taken the jump before we had. Jen and I were merely joining Him in action.
It’s been a year. A year falling off the most fantastic mountain I’ve ever seen—a year of my guts sometimes shaking hands with my gizzards. But one year, nonetheless, of diving into the most pristine waters of God’s magnanimous plan for our lives. And I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned that in spite of that dubious first-step, the genesis moment of life-leaping faith opens the door to an incredible adventure—one that you could never conjure on your own. And that if you hear the whisper of invitation from the King Himself, you can be sure that it comes not from some wispy cloud in the sky, but from a Heart love-packed for people in the harvest field below your feet. He’s already in the water.
Let abdomens everywhere begin shaking hands with Adam’s apples. May the free-fall of faith thrill you and wreck you and make you into the mission of Jesus. For there is no higher height to which you can ascend than leaping and lowering yourself into the waiting arms of God Himself.