"Fear looks; faith jumps. If I leave you as I found you, I am not God's channel. I am not here to entertain you but to get you to the place where you can laugh at the impossible, to believe and to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." - Smith Wigglesworth
Recently, I read this quote whilst reading 'Defining Moments' by Bill Johnson where he writes about the lives of revivalists throughout the generations and defining moments in their walk with the Lord that led them to their destiny in God. Smith Wigglesworth is remembered for his prevailing faith. He saw countless healing miracles and raised fourteen people from the dead. As I read this quote, I was instantly reminded of a moment last year where I had the opportunity to look or to jump!
I had been in Coffs Harbour in Australia for just a few days when I heard that you could jump off the jetty into the sea which I had never had the opportunity to do before. Without asking how high it was or any other questions, I knew that if it was possible, then I wanted to do it! Right from when I was a young child, I have always loved a challenge and I have always loved to explore. When the day came, I walked around 600m down the jetty to where people jump, put my stuff down and straight away climbed over the fence with no hesitation to stand on a telegraph pole where I would jump around 12 metres into the ocean.
What I didn't expect was that as soon as I had climbed over the fence and looked down at the sea beneath me a wave of fear would hit me. I could hardly catch my breath at the thought of jumping and I remember thinking that I am not sure if I will even be able to breathe if I jump. My heart was racing, and my legs felt a little weak beneath me. Everything in my body was telling me this was a bad idea. What instantaneously and subconsciously went through my mind was that I had been in countless situations like this throughout my entire life; moments where I knew that if I think about the fear, then I won't do what I know I want to do or need to do.
So, I again subconsciously told myself that I will be able to breathe, I will be OK and if I think more about this then I won't do it, so I decided to stop thinking and jump before I could consider any other reasons that would stop me from jumping! I knew that the more I waited the harder it would be. In less than a split second after realising this, I had jumped and was now flying through the air before plunging into the water! I swam up and took a breath, looked around me and enjoyed the warm ocean. I felt alive and wanted to do it again! It was well worth the leap of faith and so much fun!
After I recalled this memory, memory after memory flooded my mind of my life as a missionary where I have faced fears in obedience and love for Jesus and those God has put before me. In each of these times I had the opportunity to look at fear which would lead me to back down in my calling in God, or worse potentially lose my life by not continuing to yield to the Holy Spirits leading in that moment or to jump in obedience and do what I knew God was leading me to do in that moment.
I remember whilst in Mozambique standing outside a church, when a man standing right in front of me pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. I remember being deep into a city in Tanzania after dark where I had been planning a gospel campaign, being on the back of a stranger's motorbike when I saw a man come by the side of me on his motorbike and I knew by the way he looked at me that he had evil intent and would attempt to mug me.
I also remember when I arrived at a school of thousands in Tanzania about to preach the gospel, when the Holy Spirit asked me to preach a specific message I had not prepared for. I remember arriving in a rural village in Mozambique, and an entire school coming over and being asked to preach the gospel to them and all their teachers with no preparation. I remember in the USA being handed an in-ear and standing on stage about to sing a worship set in front of around 400 people not even knowing how to use an in-ear, having never done a worship set before or having any real training.
I remember in Nigeria asking a mother if I could hold and kiss her dead baby girl, to pray for resurrection life whilst a crowd of people surrounded because I saw it in a dream the night before. I remember in Tanzania, choosing to wake up at 3am being extremely unwell and after vomiting all night to drive several hours to a town with no hospital to plan a gospel campaign.
I remember in Alice Springs, Australia feeling led by the Holy Spirit to drive into camps late at night to fellowship and pray with those I had been discipling. These camps were considered so dangerous and high in crime that police patrolled these camps every night and most health workers were forbidden to enter even in pairs in the daytime.
In each of these moments I had a choice to make; will I jump and do what I know the Holy Spirit is leading me to do, knowing that obedience to the Lord is what I live for, or will I look at fear and back down and miss seeing God move in glory through me?
I am happy to tell you that the Holy Spirit led me in every one of these moments. In Mozambique and Tanzania, I averted being potentially injured, mugged or being pulled off my bike although it was a close call! In Tanzania, I preached the Gospel message with three minutes preparation to around a thousand teenagers and when I did an altar call virtually the entire school gave their lives to Jesus. In Mozambique, the Lord in the moment gave me the message, and I preached the Gospel to over a hundred people and every one of them responded to the altar call, giving their lives to Jesus.
I had the joy of singing worship vocals with no fear in USA. In Nigeria, I held the baby and prayed for resurrection life as I had seen in the dream. Sadly, I had to leave this Gospel campaign and I never heard the outcome of that prayer. In Tanzania, I made the journey several hours and recovered fully the next day to continue the Gospel campaign preparations. We saw countless miracles and hundreds of thousands of people surrender their lives to Jesus through the mass gospel campaigns that we planned in Tanzania.
In Alice Springs, I was able to disciple, bring deliverance, healing, and salvation to many. I was able to demonstrate the love of Jesus to entire families. I was also able to help save a woman's life, who had been locked in her house and beaten by her husband. She miraculously heard the Holy Spirit tell her how to escape and to come to the house where we had felt led to worship that night, in which we were then able to take her to the hospital.
I could share much more detail of how the Lord led me in each and every situation and what glorious things God did through jumping out in faith. I could share countless more of these types of stories, where it took faith and obedience to see God pour out incredible glory.
Standing at the top of that jetty, feeling my body's reaction to fear as I looked down at the ocean beneath me, but then putting that aside to jump and then realising the thrill of joy upon doing so is very much what taking a jump of faith looks like. What I have noticed with fear, is that once you step out and do what God has called you to do then the fear vanishes, and it is never as scary as you thought it would be. Instead, there is an overwhelming joy as you see God come through, which brings you to a place of anticipation and excitement for the next opportunity to jump!
What happened in reality is that after I jumped, I returned to the jetty an hour later to find a friend who had been standing over the fence wanting to jump, but she had been looking at the height and thinking about it for an entire hour, and so she was too scared to jump. I offered to jump with her, and within a minute we jumped together. I am no different from you. I share these stories as a testimony to the faithfulness of God and to encourage you that God can do anything He wills through your life of faith in Jesus. As the body of Christ, we jump together!
I want to encourage you today to say 'yes' to what God is leading you to do. Choose not to back down when you feel fear, but to recognise that when the Lord is leading and there is fear, then it is actually a joyful invitation into the miraculous!
If the Lord is leading you and you don't have the training, qualifications, or experience, be encouraged that many of those who feature in Hebrews 11 'Hall of Faith' also didn't!
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony." - Hebrews 11:1-2 NKJV
I want to invite you into childlike faith! Children don't often consider the consequences of what could happen, they are also often fearless until they are taught that they should fear. Ask the Lord to re-awaken the explorer and adventurer in you that God has created you for.
Take the jump of faith and see what God will do with your life!