“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4, NIV).
I first discovered this verse at the Southern Christian Writer's Conference years ago. It became a verse to inspire me to keep on pushing myself to write no matter how I feel. Yesterday I was excited to hear that my pastor had chosen it to inspire us to “Leap into 2016”. He chose the first letter in “Leap” to represent the fact that we are to “live uncertain”. We are to live by faith. If I “watch the wind” and “look at the clouds” instead of disciplining myself to write, I will reap nothing in return. If I never attempt a word, I will never write a sentence. And if I never risk the comfortable certainty of my life, I will never grow in my personal faith.
This new year can be a great year of growth in our faith if we step out of the certainty of the place where we have settled–if we risk something new that pushes us to believe in what our eyes cannot see. How many times have we heard that we need to move forward in Jesus Christ, and let go of the comfortable place where we have settled? We need to get out of the safety of the boat, and launch out into the depths of the unknown with Him. “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me” (Psalm 42:7). The depth of the Holy Spirit calls to the depth of man and bids him, “Come. Step out of the boat, and launch out into the deep with me!” Do I long for His waves and breakers to sweep over me carrying me to new heights? If I truly long for these unknown depths of complete surrender, I must let go of all that has defined who I am. I must risk believing in what He has chosen for my life. I must risk, plant, and invest in the unknown.
How many of us allow our failures, pains, attitudes, and even sins that were crucified with Christ to hold us back? Christ calls us to let go of all that has defined who we have been. I must let go of what I consider the certain security of the boat. There is no certainty in the boat I have constructed. There is no certain security in false hopes and dreams that offer nothing in the end. That boat is subject to the waves and storms of life. That boat can sink. But I will discover when I let go of my self-constructed identity, and step out into the depths of the unknown in Christ, I am at last standing strong upon faith in Him, and not sinking into the depths of my own despair. When I step out of that boat into what is uncertain, I am no longer the person who could not quite get things together, or a person who has been crushed by circumstance. I am no longer someone who lets feelings of rejection, whether imagined or real, define who I am. I am no longer one who needs the world to approve of me. I am no longer a person ruled by fear. I have found my worth in Christ. I am a new person.
I love this pictorial expression from the book, The Shack by William Young, Mack stands on the end of a dock with Jesus, and stares at the surface of the lake. Jesus asks Mack to take his hand, and step off the dock, but Mack can't let go of the certain security of the dock. “So, why do I have so much fear in my life?” he asks. Jesus' answer cuts to the core of the issue. “Because you don't believe. You don't know that I love you. The person who lives by his fear will not find freedom in my love.” We must not be afraid to move forward into the unknown of 2016. Fear will hold us in our own self-constructed boat. But there is freedom from all that has defined us when we step out into the unknown in faith.
Do you want to find freedom in His love? If you plant your life, you will reap greater faith. Each day step out of the boat and discover your newness in Him again and again. The old will fail you. The new in Christ will never fail. Launch into the depths of what has been your uncertainty. You will find it the most certain thing you have ever done.