Seven years ago, a very normal incident sparked a series of events that threw me into one of the craziest, richest journeys I’ve ever walked and blew the dust off of a faith that was beginning to grow stale.
I met one of my best friends while walking home from school one day. I didn’t know her very well yet, but we struck up a conversation, which led to the topic of God, and I found myself inviting her to church the following Sunday. I wasn’t aware of it then, but that moment was a catalyst launching me into an adventure of faith. She came to church with me that Sunday, and a hundred Sundays after. She just didn’t stop coming and I had the privilege of being with her when she accepted Jesus about a year later. This past weekend (six years later) we went to a Christian youth conference for our fifth time, except we went as leaders rather than youth. The transformation is stunning: now my friend is pouring into the lives of youth, telling them about living for Jesus and ministering and serving and worshiping; not because she now has a perfect life, but because she has hope and a healing heart.
As we led together, I was struck by the richness of this friendship and all the intense pain and crazy laughter we’ve experienced together as we’ve both learned how to follow Jesus: she, as a brand new Christian, and I, as a pastor’s kid redefining how and why I believed and carried out my faith. We have so many strange and beautiful and God-filled stories, and what we’ve experienced could probably fill a book but what strikes me, what humbles me, is that I could have missed it all.
I could have ignored the prompting to invite her to church. I could have swept the invitation under the rug of my fear or hesitation but by God’s grace I didn’t. That one small risk led to a dozen more and it built a relationship, which grew two faiths in completely different ways. The effects have reverberated across the miles that separate us and through the years till now. So much fruit and blessing has come from one blip of a moment. One tiny act of obedience altered everything.
Sometimes a small step is all that is needed to drastically shake up our lives and push us into a better version of ourselves. Sometimes the best way to see Jesus is to take a risk and lean in and trust hard. It probably won’t be smooth or easy. My friend didn’t become a Christian the next day; it was a year before she accepted Christ. In fact, much of our relationship has consisted of wrestling with hard questions, and walking through many experiences of heart-wrenching pain, but I think, through it all, we taught each other how to press into God, how to let Him be sovereign, and how to experience a mysterious joy in difficult circumstances.
Take a small step in faith, and it might bring clarity to some of the foggy edges in our lives. It might involve sacrifice, but it might also produce rich blessing. It might answer some of our most difficult questions and leave us with harder ones. It might stretch us, but it might also propel us to continue on. We might be glossing over our fullest life because we’re being tugged back into fear or tunnel vision or a list of rules. Dare to take a step and follow a prompting and watch what tumbles out of that. It could be that behind the risk, tucked under the unknown, a shower of blessing is waiting to be unleashed.