Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Trust Fall

When I was a teenager, THE thing to do in summer was attend Centrifuge, a Christian "camp" which didn't come anywhere close to meeting Webster's definition of camping. We slept in soft bunk beds, ate three hot meals a day, and shied away from the jellyfish-filled beach waters at Gulf Shores, Mississippi.

One camp activity I remember vividly was called the trust fall. Each person took turns standing on a 4 foot short wall, locked her legs and body like a stiff corpse, and fell straight backwards into two facing rows of arms.

Even though I watched some pretty hefty boys complete the trust fall, I knew I was no feather, so I was the last one in my group to be pressured into trying it. Up on the wall, I somehow convinced myself to tip backwards and start the fall, but then I had second thoughts, bent my knees, and ended up more in a sitting position.

While I have never tried a physical trust fall again, I've found myself falling backwards repeatedly into my heavenly Father's waiting hands ever since.

Sometimes, the wall has been so high that even when I peeked over my shoulder, I couldn't see His waiting hands below. But I could hear His voice telling me He would catch me. I simply had to gulp down my fear and act on faith.

One such instance was when I quit my full time, secure job following the birth of my first son. I had known for years God wanted me to be a stay-at-home mother. But when that time came, I was afraid. Not only would my quitting mean we would be a one-income family, but I had always been the biggest breadwinner, my job was the only one that provided health insurance, and my husband's promising legal career was dust.

Despite my fears, I obeyed God's voice, trusting that He would catch me. And over the course of the next few years, God turned a tiny part-time teaching position into a blessing I could never have imagined where I now can teach as many online classes from home as I can fit in my schedule.

My situation is not unique among Christians. The Bible is full of men and women whom God called to act in faith, many times when they, too, could not see how it would turn out.

One man in particular fell backwards into God's waiting hands from a much greater height than I have ever plummeted from.


100 years old when he and Sarah became parents to Isaac--the promised child through whom Abraham would become the "father of many nations." And then God commanded Abraham to an awesome act of faith: "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about" (Gen. 22:2).

This mother would have asked God to repeat Himself not once but many, many times. But Abraham? Scripture doesn't show him questioning God at all. It simply says "Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey" (v. 3).

At the crack of dawn, with no outward hesitation, Abraham was cutting wood and starting on a journey to make the largest leap of faith in his life--sacrificing his son, his future.

Wasn't this asking too much? How many proofs of his faith did God require from him?

Already, Abraham had obeyed when God said, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you" (Gen 12:1). Not knowing exactly where he would end up, he and Sarah packed up and set out across the hot, sandy desert.

And now, he set out again, walking three days to the mountain. Three days, one footprint of faith in front of the other because he believed "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering" (Gen. 22:8).

Atop the mountain, God waited as Abraham arranged the stones into an altar and placed on top the wood he had chopped, himself. God even waited as Abraham bound his son and lay him on the altar of sacrifice.

And then, oh then, Abraham "reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son" (v. 10).

Surely, as he raised the knife, Abraham felt like he was falling.

Would God catch him by providing a ram in this last second? Or would God catch him by resurrecting Isaac from the dead? Either way, Abraham trusted God to fulfill the covenant He had made earlier.

And although Abraham never brought the knife down into Isaac, his heart must have already taken the plunge in faith...for God saw that faithful heart, provided a sacrificial ram in the thicket, and sent an angel to stop him, saying, "Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son" (v. 12).

Relocating, changing jobs, or giving up some other security blanket--God calls each Christian to have faith that He knows what is best for us and that He only has our best eternal interests at heart.

It may be terrifying. It may mean we give up family, friends, or even a country. But God wants to be the only set of hands our heart trusts completely in to catch us in this life and in the next. He wants to be our only security.


  1. Oh, to fall without bending my knees... or worse. What a great way to bring out the path of our faith.

  2. Guilty knee-bender here! Fear and faith seem to go hand in hand. But without faith it is impossible to please God. It seems lately He has been teaching me to just jump in the pool, and stop worrying about the big splash...

  3. Hmmmm... I ran across your blog through booksneeze... I'm not a "Christian" personally (I was raised in an uber-psychotic catholic family that completely turned me off to organized religion entirely). However I do believe in fate, and as you state in your profile, maybe I'm here for a reason... I can't stand totally religious stuff as a rule, but I'll keep reading (cause I'm also a blogger and an artist, and I love your blog layout!). ;)