The stars seemed a million miles away, sparkling like tiny diamonds. Water lapped against the side of the rough-hewn canoe. There were four of us perched in a row.
As my eyes became accustomed to the dark I saw outlines of trees along the shore. The lead guy pointed to the treetops. “Anacondas,” he said, veering in a new direction.
I was on the Amazon in Brazil in the rain forest. Our nights were spent on a boat, and our days in 100+ degree heat with a medical and evangelistic team. My husband was not far away with a construction team, building a church for a pastor who had led services under a tree for years.
And now I was on a boat in the inky midnight hours surrounded by crocodiles, pirahna, and anaconda.
An experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
As your relationship with God becomes more, then something really great . . . and incredibly hard, happens.
You are no longer satisfied to live a comfortable faith.
It’s because you are listening now. All the things that once complicated faith begin to fall away. You realize who you are to God. You are starting to grasp the greatness of God.
A personal connection flickers and then flames and slowly His voice filters through the clutter and settles in your heart.
Maybe this won’t lead you to the Amazon and a midnight ride among flesh-eating fish, but I promise that it will lead you out of comfortable faith.
This relationship might lead you to give more than you ever have.
It might lead you to forgive when it seems impossible.
It might lead you to choose joy over bitterness for the first time.
It might lead you to believe in the qualities He sees in you, and to act on that knowledge.
When I think about that night on the Amazon, I have to say that there are other times that I’ve been more afraid. Like, when God asked a shy girl to start speaking.
Seriously, God? Umm, pick someone else.
Or when He led me to a team of strong women who loved ministry and asked me to be a part.
I was also afraid the day He asked me to travel Internationally to share the truth that Jesus is a Healer, and there is no person beyond His healing touch.
I wanted to point out to God all the extroverts in the crowd who seemed to be designed for this adventure of His.
It took a few stumbles and some heart-pounding moments to settle into this truth:
Comfortable faith can steal away the new that God wants to reveal in you.
I started listening closely.
I started saying yes, even when I was afraid.
And then one day I realized something powerful. I loved doing this! God knew something I didn’t, and I would have never discovered it had I not listened and obeyed, even when I was afraid.
Did that mean that it went perfectly at first? Does that mean that it always goes perfectly now?
Far from it.
Each time we stumble, or downright fail, it leads us back to Him. To listen. To learn through our mistakes.
It leads us to surround ourselves with others who hear that same call.
It leads us to trust that if we just take the step, He meets us on the other side.
Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. Mark 4:24 NLT
Have you settled into comfortable faith?
Not because it’s where God has you at this time, but because you’ve been telling Him no?
Are you ready to listen? To hear what He’s saying to you?
When I think about that night on the Amazon, I can still tell you about the glowing yellow marble-sized eyes, or the lapping water that seemed that it might capsize the small crude boat.
It was part of my experience, for sure, but I can also tell you that I did something that I may never have the opportunity to do again.
I was part of something greater than my own fears.
Just you and God
Q: Is there something you sense God asking you to do, and you’ve been telling Him no? Write it in your journal.
Q: What might it look like to listen to God, to really pay attention? Describe that.
Q: In Mark 4:24, there’s a promise attached. “You will receive even more.” What does this mean to you?
Read Mark 4:20-25 to find verse 24 in context. What is the topic of conversation?
Q: Why is listening important to “shining our light” or “the harvest of good seed?”
Write Mark 4:24 down today and place it where you can see it all week.
Hey sweet friends, if you have been looking for a resource to help you forgive, The Unburdened Heart is for you.
By the end of this book, you’ll move from the concept of “I have to forgive” to “I get to forgive” and embrace the freedom waiting for you!