We have 5 stairs that go from the mudroom and den of our house to our kitchen. According to our dog these are the most terrifying stairs known to animal kind. In order to go outside or eat he must venture downstairs. However, to be with us he must make his way back up stairs. This battle of the stairs plays out multiple times daily, usually ending in a point of exasperation from at least one human member of the family.
His fear has turned itself into a bad country line dance: one paw up, one paw down, two paws up, then both back down. Now do those line dance steps three more times, while barking as loud as you can, without stopping, in hopes that a person in the house will come stand behind you while you go up the stairs.
Sometimes the dance will have alternating moves that eventually lead to him going up three of the steps only to become frozen by the fear of conquering the last two.
Mind you, the last two steps are no different then the first three steps. Nothing has changed. The lights did not go out, the width and height of the stairs did not change, nor the distance between the stairs, but for some unknown reason he becomes paralyzed in fear.
Saturday morning Nate said, “Our dog is neurotic. He manages to finally go up three stairs and then becomes paralyzed in fear about the last two.” I laughingly replied, “Funny, maybe God says the same thing about us.”
I’ve noticed in my own journey of following God that He will call me to a new place and I almost always first feel fear and trepidation. However, God compassionately and patiently validates His call, which causes me to gain courage, and my trust will then supersed my fear. And I, “Come, follow Me.”
Somewhere along the journey Satan will whisper to me, “You are alone!” and I stop. Suddenly the path gets too long or the stairs become too many. I stop and cry out – “Lord, are You still there? Lord, have You changed? Lord, I am terribly afraid! Remind me of Your goodness, Your faithfulness, and how You will never leave me!”
I’ve stopped because I am afraid to go it without God. Did he leave, NO!, would he leave, NO!, but somewhere, somehow, I allowed Satan’s voice to become louder than God’s and I then become paralyzed in fear.
It makes me think of Peter walking on the water. Jesus has just finished feeding the 5,000 on the hill from the “fish and loaf” basket. We then read in Matthew 14: 22 – 33: “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.””
You see, we are just like Peter. Nothing in his circumstance had changed. We know the wind was already there because it says so in verse 24 (“because the wind was against it.”) and we know they were already surround by water because it says so in verse 22 (“the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him”), but just like Satan does, “BAM”, Peter becomes afraid of the wind!
And then Jesus, in what I don’t believe is a condescending voice, but one that is louder than Satan’s and one full of grace and mercy reminds me, His’, neurotic follower – “Why did you doubt?”
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:5