My wife and I love animals. We can’t imagine living life without having pets. I had a dog before Ali and I met. Since we’ve been together, we’ve adopted two cats. Our male cat, Ralphie, isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He’s loving and affectionate, but he isn’t smart. We have been hesitant to let them outside since we live right on a highly traveled road. However, they have spent many hours staring out the screen door, meowing at us, and wanting out.
A few days ago Ali said to me, “Do you think we should let them outside?” I told her that I thought we could try it out and see where it goes. I did some research and felt comfortable that they would come back home if they were to run off. We decided to try it out this past weekend. They were both positioned at their post by the screen door, and for the first time in their lives at our house, the door was opened for them to go out into the world.
Fuzz, our female cat, immediately ran back into the kitchen. Ralphie, however, was intrigued. We thought that he would take off and be overjoyed to finally be able to go into freedom. However, he just sat there examining the situation. I went outside to try to coax him out, but that had no impact on him. I even got his treats and laid them out in a line leading into the grass, thinking that would trick him. He ate the first couple and took a few steps towards the outside but then refused to go off of the concrete. I just looked at him and asked, “Why is it that you’ve been telling us that you want to go outside and now that you finally have the chance, you won’t go?” He didn’t answer.
Then a thought popped into my head, “How many times has this been you?” You will always hear me say something like “I want to go through whatever door that God is opening.” Deep down in my heart, that’s 100% true. Then I started remembering situations where I felt like God was leading me somewhere, only to not take that final step of faith through the door. Much like Ralphie, I would get as close as I could without really committing to it. My feet never left the concrete. I often choose to stay where it’s safe and comfortable. The issue is that God tends to do his work where it’s dangerous, uncertain, and uncomfortable. If we want to follow him, that’s where we’ll need to go.
I’m sure that I am not the only person that struggles with this. We all want to live our lives the way that God desires. However, most of us like our lives the way that they are. We have set ourselves up so that there is no risk involved in our daily routine. We don’t like for that routine to get upset, we find comfort in the predictability of each day. I don’t believe that’s what God desires for us. Routines and predictability don’t mesh well with the “life to the full” that Jesus has promised us in John 10:10. It’s not Jesus who has failed to deliver on his promise but us who haven’t accepted the invitation.
God wants more for us in this life than the everyday mundane. He wants us to truly live. To truly live means to depend upon wholly on him. When Jesus sent out his 12 disciples to go do ministry in Matthew 10, he gave them these instructions, “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts – no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or staff, for the worker is worth his keep.” (Matt. 10:9-10) He gave similar instructions when he sent out the 72 in Luke 10. He didn’t want them to take anything that would provide them with any security. They were forced to trust that God would provide for them every step of the way. When they returned from their mission, they were filled with joy. It is an extraordinary feeling to accomplish something when you know that it was God working in you. That, my friends, is the feeling of joy unsurpassable.
God is inviting you to live life to the full. Why would we ever turn that down? We know that God loves us and will protect us. We know that he’s not going to send us anywhere that’s out of his realm of power. We know that he is good and desires more for us. If we know all that is true, then we shouldn’t hesitate to step through those doors that he has opened.
Yes, it’s going be messy, dangerous, uncomfortable, unpredictable, and sometimes scary. Has God not commanded us, “Be strong and courageous”? I want live life in a way that I have to trust God to make it. It’s when people see that genuine faith working in us that they will want that faith for themselves. God has never led anyone astray, and he will always take us somewhere that will be for our good and his glory. I hope we can all take that step off of the comfort of the concrete and into the dangerous world around us so that we can share the love of Christ with all people and live life to the full.