An image, similar to the one above, came to my mind yesterday. A number of these high jump bars were situated at regular intervals along a very long race track, all set at a one foot height – low enough to step or jump over with little effort. People were ambling along this track, chatting amongst themselves and paying no heed to the barriers that hardly broke their stride.
Then, without warning, a fire broke out under each bar. People stopped – alarmed. There was no way they could step over the bar without getting burned. They were stuck. Some cried. Others complained. Many grew angry. But most simply accepted the fact that they would stay right where they were for the rest of their lives.
Then one person walked over to the bar and raised it. The people watched him with shock and astonishment. Who did he think he was to take it upon himself to raise the bar? They criticized him. Yelled at him. Sneered at him. But he ignored them. He stepped back several yards, took a deep breath, and ran. When he reached the bar, he jumped, sailing over the fire with ease. He jogged over to the next bar and did the same thing. Soon, he had negotiated the track to the point where the people couldn’t see him anymore.
For years, the people talked about the man who raised the bar, marveling at his bravery but never attempting the feat themselves.
I asked God about this, wondering what He wanted me to see. Here is what He showed me:
We are in a race, friends. It is a faith race that has been set before us to run with diligence, excellence, and trust. But there are barriers along that race track that we must overcome in order to finish the race. Many of those barriers are inconsequential and we hardly notice as we navigate through them. Then the stakes get higher. The bar is raised. We have a choice to make. Will we remain stuck in a rut because we’re afraid we’ll get burned? Or will we take the hand of Jesus and allow Him to help us jump over the barriers?
This shook me.
How many times have I been the one who stood there, angry, critical or even worse, complacent, because someone else had the faith to step out and do what God had called them to do, knowing it should have been me? How many times have I been so afraid of the fire that I stayed where I was instead of trusting Jesus to lead me? And how often have I wished it were me jumping over those hurdles along the faith race, holding the hand of the Saviour, soaring with Him from glory to glory? Far too often.
That is not the woman God wants me to be.
And that is not the woman I want to be.
So, I’m going to run. And jump. And soar!
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)