Of all the opaque hyper-spiritual jargon we throw around these days, one of my least favorite is the command to “step out in faith”.
Step out in faith. What does that mean, really? For me, it conjures up images of flinging myself off a cliff, driving without a GPS, walking aimlessly without knowing my destination.
And as ridiculous as those images are, “stepping out in faith” still feels like something I should aspire to, something only the strongest Christians can do. Don’t ask questions, don’t worry or doubt, just keep moving forward and believe.
Wow. Sounds great. So here I am, trying to unlearn my question-heavy, detail-oriented mindset and figure out how to step out in faith.
This is what God wants me to do, right?
Fear over faith
Take it from David. He was a master of stepping out in faith.
He’d been through so much, and not one single question or doubt or worry of his has appeared in the Bible account thus far.
When Goliath taunted and threatened, David stepped out in faith and defeated him without flinching.
When Saul tried to kill him, David stepped out in faith and didn’t run or fight back.
When David was finally forced to become a fugitive from the murderous king, he stepped out in faith and created a community in the wilderness.
And when the city of Keilah was attacked by the Philistines, David—questioned God?
What happened to being a strong follower of God? What happened to decisive action? What happened to leaving behind questions, worries, and doubts and just stepping out?
Would God reprimand David? Stay silent until he figured out how to trust God again?
No, He just answered David. David even asks a second time, and God answers His slightly worried, doubtful child again.
And everything is fine.
It’s a reminder that while stepping out in faith can be a really good thing, God doesn’t ask us not to feel things.
He doesn’t ask us to stifle our questions or explain away our doubts. He’s the big and powerful one, not us. We can be honest with Him. Our faith will not implode if we do.
And as beautiful as “stepping out in faith” is, this truth is even more breathtaking.
“Ask, and it will be given to you.”
Of course, David didn’t stand in one place, asking God questions, airing his doubts, over and over again until he died.
When God gave him assurance, he moved. And that’s the next step for all of us.
We can ask God anything, we can be honest with Him about all our feelings, but when He answers us, we have to decide whether or not to trust Him enough to follow Him or obey Him or go where He’s calling us.
In a way, I guess it all comes back to stepping out in faith. The only difference is that you don’t have conjure up your faith all on your own.
So ask and doubt and worry and bring it all to God and hear what He has to say.
And then take His words, and step out in faith.
What do you think? What does it mean to step out in faith?