Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Size of a Mustard Seed

A friend recently shared the following with me:  When life leads you to the edge, trust in God and let go.  One of two things will happen:  1) God will catch you or 2) He will teach you how to fly.
A favorite story from my growing up involves the fine art of roof jumping.  Roof jumping occurs in winter time when the snow is piled really high and you, well, jump off the roof.  As one can expect, parents are generally against this idea and my sister and I knew that.  But Mom and Dad were away for a few hours so my sister and I grabbed a ladder and put it against the neighbor’s house (they were away for the winter).  We piled up the snow and started up the ladder.  My sister jumped first and then I stood on the edge – for a long time!  I did finally jump but I was scared.  The snow caught me, surrounded me with icy cold softness and the adrenaline really kicked in.  Once again up the ladder and this time, with my sister in midair and me half-way up the ladder, the thundering voice of my father echoed through the houses, “What are you two doing?”  Of course the only thing two kids can say at a time like that?  “Nothing”?  Well, ‘nothing’ got us grounded for a month! 
What will you do when you get to the edge?  Will you try to walk backwards, avoiding the cliff?  Will you try to run or will you jump?  Will you try to stop yourself mid jump?  Will you scream out to God or will you totally surrender to Him and, arms outstretched, jump in absolute faith?  No one can answer that question until they are at the edge. 
I still remember the edge though.  Standing on the edge of the roof and looking down, ready to jump but not ready to jump.  Hopeful yet fearful.  Excited yet nervous.  Now as I face another edge I need to jump and I know that either God will catch me or teach me how to fly but I’m still nervous.  I’m still scared.  I’m still really not ready to jump.  But faith teaches me to jump.  Recall this scene from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.
With his father groaning in the background, Indiana walks ahead, following an ancient book that gives clues to guide him through a maze of obstacles to the place where the Grail is hidden. He comes to the brink of a chasm deeper than the eye can see. There is no visible way for him to cross the chasm.
Indiana is faced with the impossible. All he sees is the sheer cliff edge and the vast gulf beneath him. Then, as he studies his guidebook, his face relaxes in realization, and he says, "It's a leap of faith."
With his father whispering, "You must believe, boy, you must believe," Indiana looks straight ahead, gathers his courage, and slowly raises one foot into the empty air in front of him.
With a thud, his foot lands on solid ground. The camera pans to show Indiana standing on a narrow rock bridge, deceptively carved to match the exact outline of the ravine beneath it.
Overcome with relief, he quickly crosses the chasm and discovers the Grail on the other side.[1]
Each day we are called to believe – have some faith – take a step of faith.  Abraham offered up his son, Noah built the ark, Moses raised his rod to part the Red Sea and Daniel walked out of the lion’s den.  Each one did it on faith. 
When one of my nephews was baptized I gave him a pin to wear on his shirt.  In the pin was a mustard seed.  I told him that God says that we need to have faith the size of a mustard seed.  He said, “I can have that much faith every day!”  Surely it is possible for all of us to have that much faith, right?  How big is a mustard seed?  It is about as big as the line beneath this letter O. 

[1] www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2003/december

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