We are all probably familiar with those electric doors at the mall that seem to open only when you are about to face-plant into them. I remember one time in particular going to a store late at night, and I wasn’t quite sure if it was open. I didn’t see any movement inside, and couldn’t find the hours of the store listed anywhere. I knew the doors wouldn’t open as I stared them down from my car, or even if I was standing a hundred feet from them. I had to get out of my car, and walk straight into them to discover if they would open for me.
That night I found this everyday part of living to be an insightful, and deep analogy for my life. As an avid planner I have always wanted to map out the next five years in advance, but I have discovered an interesting pattern in God’s dealings with me. He has required me to live in such a way that I must depend on Him for each step, without knowing where exactly I’m going or what His plan will look like in the end.
I’ve had a wide variety of experiences in my short 30 years of living. I’ve lived in Africa as a missionary, I’m an Esthetician, and am finishing a Masters in counseling and Psychology. In addition to that, last year I moved across the country to volunteer with The A21 Campaign, a global anti-human trafficking organization.
If I had the time to recount all the twists and turns involved in each of these decisions you would probably laugh at how God’s plan has played out, but also stand in awe with me of how wise and loving He is. All throughout scripture we see God’s desire for His people to participate with Him by displaying a faith that is confident in the good plans He had for them.
In Luke 17:11-14 we see an instance where ten lepers cried out to Jesus for healing.
“As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
How many times have we begged God for direction, a relationship, a healing, (whether it be emotional or physical), and it seems like nothing is happening? What if these ten lepers just kept crying out about their problem to Jesus, and ignored His instruction to go to the priests? If so, we could speculate that this situation would have played out quite differently.
As these ten lepers followed Christ’s instruction they found their healing. They acted upon God’s declaration by faith. They had no evidence in their bodies of their healing when Jesus told them what to do. He didn’t even tell them they were healed!
Can you imagine how scary it would have been to be told, as a leper, to show yourself to the priests, of all people? Lepers were excommunicated from society as common day untouchables. And to be told to enter the community they were thrown out of, and go to the “holiest of all people”, the priests, took some serious courage.
What does this tell us?
Well, we’re not lepers, but women who have needs and desires of a different kind. But the truth that binds these ten lepers to us is the courage it takes to walk towards those doors (whatever they may be), in the face of the unknown.
The art of becoming a leader is found in learning to follow Jesus, the greatest leader of all. This requires us to step out in spite of, not in the absence of, the “not knowings” and the wonderings. But as we step out in faith onto the seeming void, we will find solid ground beneath our feet.
God knows our deepest desires, or as the amplified version states in Psalm 37:4, the “secret petitions of our hearts.” However, sometimes God won’t release His provision until we start moving.
The relationship Jesus has established with us is founded on the bedrock of His grace, and our robust faith in Him. Even when our faith seems less than robust, don’t forget Jesus’ standard for moving mountains. “Faith the size of a mustard seed.” I think we can manage that.
Next time you go to the mall, or any place you find those pesky electric doors, let it serve as a reminder that, sometimes God will ask us to walk forward, bold and confident, and as we do, we will see the faithfulness of God on display in our lives.
Barbara Hill is an East coast girl who moved from Baltimore to California to volunteer with A21. Barbara is a current grad student, blogger, worshipper, and freedom fighter. Connect with her on her blog.