A recent skiing trip reminded me that many years ago, I was taken by an instructor to an extremely steep slope in order to learn how to ski safely down the steep stuff. Another learner went first, and ski-ed about a metre before falling over and sliding halfway down the slope on his back.
Somewhat intimidated by his failure, I managed a string of quick, scruffy turns, scrubbing off speed and managing to stay upright till I got to the instructor waiting halfway down, feeling pretty pleased with myself. But the instructor sternly reprimanded me for not putting into practice what I already knew how to do. So I tried again, and found myself skiing at breakneck speed, but under more control than I’d ever had. I had learned how to ski on steep slopes.
A decade later I returned to that resort, much improved as a skier, and went to look for this terrible precipice to see if I could now do it better. After a morning of trying every piste in the area, I could find no steep slope at all. It was only later that I realised what had once seemed steep, was now easily skiable. My perspective had changed. What had once seemed hard, was now easy.
Young king David had the courage to face a giant who intimidated even the greatest of Israel’s warriors, because he had a different perspective. “I’ve killed a lion and a bear,” he told Saul, “why should he be any more dangerous than them?” (1 Samuel 17:36). Elisha was not afraid of the armies of Aram, because he could see God’s army camped around the city (2 Kings 6:17).
How are we taking our experience of God’s provision, care and protection, and applying it in faith to our current situation? Many of us face struggles daily: for funding, security, work permits, health, and many other challenges that are endemic to life as a mission worker. Sometimes each challenge seems bigger than ever before, but constantly reminding ourselves of what God has done for us in the past is an excellent way of stoking the fires of our faith for what God can do for us in the future.
We should never forget that when we are weak, we are strong, because it gives God opportunities to show his power (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). That awesome power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is at work in us (Ephesians 1:18-23). Let us change our perspectives, so that we look not at the size of the problem, or our own weakness, but the greatness of the living God.
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
(2 Kings 6:16)