Faith, Hope, Pain and suffering, prayer, promises, Spiritual Growth

Living on the Edge

I am NOT a risk taker.

I tend to place high priority on safety, security. I like to be in control, plan ahead, know what’s coming next. I thrive in an orderly environment.

As a child, I played it safe. I knew what I was good at (academics) and what I was not (sports). I chose to simply not take the risk to play sports because I didn’t want to risk sitting on the bench the entire season. I never tried out for cheerleader for fear of failure, because it was a risk.

I love the sense of accomplishment, success. I excelled in the classroom, so I spent my time focusing on academics. I was comfortable, secure in my studies. It was a safe place where I knew I could excel.

I’m learning God doesn’t play by my rules.

God doesn’t place a high priority on safety, security. Instead, he tends to pull us out of our comfort zone, into a place where we must place our full trust in him. He likes to take us to the very edge, where we stand teetering over the deep valley below. A fall would bring certain death—or at least pain, discomfort, injury. His priority is to teach us that he is always faithful, we can always count on him to come through in the most difficult of circumstances.

His goal is to get the glory through our circumstances so we can point the world back to him.

Have you thought about how many times God takes us to the edge? The edge of disaster? The edge of destruction? The edge of annihilation? And then, as only he can, he steps in and saves us.

Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. Exodus 14:1-4

The Israelites have just left Egypt, and they are on the edge of the Red Sea. The Egyptians begin to close in on them. They are trapped between the sea and the Egyptians, their destruction is imminent. But, we all know what happens. God steps in, parts the Red Sea, and the Israelites walk across on dry land.

And God gets the glory.

Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. Joshua 6:1-2

The Israelites have crossed the Jordan River, and they are on the edge of the Promised Land. God tells them to go in, take possession. They march to the edge of Jericho, peering up at the walls towering over them. The gates are locked tight, and it appears there is no entrance, no way to take possession of the promise God has made. They are so close and yet so far away.

But God commands them to march. March around the city every day for seven days. March around the city seven times on the seventh day. On the edge of humiliation. On the edge of terror. On the edge of being attacked by the inhabitants of Jericho. But, after walking in obedience, the walls come tumbling down.

And God gets the glory.

Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. Matthew 14:24-25

Immediately after feeding the 5000, Jesus sent the disciples across the lake. He chose to stay on land, to spend some time alone with his Father. A huge storm rolled in, stirring the waters into a churning monster. The disciples fought the wind and the waves in their small boat, frantically trying to reach the shore safely.

As the disciples teetered on the edge of capsizing, of drowning, Jesus stayed put. He waited until 3:00 in the morning, until the deepest, darkest moments of the storm. He waited until the disciples had been battered and tossed, until they were on the edge of certain doom.

And then, Jesus comes walking on the water, meeting them in the storm. He reaches out, calls Peter out of the boat, out of his comfort zone. There they are, in the middle of the storm. The winds suddenly stop. The waters calm.

And God gets the glory.

So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”  But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” John 11:3-4

Lazarus, Jesus’ dear friend, was sick. Mary and Martha knew Jesus had the power to heal him, so they called for him. He could step in, end their pain, save the day. They stood on the edge of their brother’s death.

But Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. By the time he reached his friends, Lazarus had been dead, in the tomb for four days. According to their beliefs, the spirit hovered nearby for three days, still giving hope for the return of life. But at four days? All. Hope. Was. Gone.

Jesus commanded them to roll away the stone. He stood in front of the people, called to Lazarus to come out of the grave. The dead man rose, walked out of the tomb, still wrapped in grave clothes.

And God gets the glory.

I see a pattern throughout scripture, a pattern of God taking us to the edge before he steps in. A pattern where we face impossible so the only explanation for our success is God. A pattern where he pulls us from our comfort zone, takes us to a place of total dependence on him.

And, my idea of living on the edge rarely meshes with God’s idea of living on the edge. It seems he always pushes us farther, stretches us more than we ever dreamed possible.

In the end, God gets the glory.

I have felt as if I’m on the edge for months. Right now, I’m teetering, ready to fall, crash to the ground. I don’t see how I can go any farther without certain destruction. And yet, somehow I sense God’s rescue is just around the corner.

And he will get the glory.

Where are you? Are you standing on the edge of the Red Sea, your enemies closing in behind you? Are you on the edge of the Promised Land, staring at the walls towering above you? Are you in the middle of the lake, the storm raging all around you? Are you staring at the grave, at death, with all hope gone?

If you are on the edge, you are in the perfect place to experience God, to see his hand move in mighty ways. You are in the perfect place to see God’s glory.

And you can be assured you are not alone!

If God always met our expectations, he would never have an opportunity to exceed them. – Craig Groeschel

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14 thoughts on “Living on the Edge”

  1. I needed that reminder today. I sure don’t understand Him and if I did He would not be God. I remember this quote along with scripture. “Faith is the conviction that He can and the hope that he will.”

    1. Absolutely! I have a quote on my wall that says, “When you can’t see his hand, trust his heart.” He’s doing an amazing behind-the-scenes work right now, getting everything arranged for just the perfect time. I’m just ready for that perfect time!

  2. Great post. I needed to see and feel those words today. Our God is awesome and will lead us in the right direction if we keep our faith. I am a control freak and waiting patiently is extremely difficult for me to do. He knows I am trying 🙂

  3. Dena, thank you for sharing this! I’m so grateful to have found your site. I see some striking similarities in our lives. I am truly on the edge. My husband of 19 years has said he no longer loves me, and I am facing a future with 4 kids as a single mom. Scary. This is a very dark time for me, but your Dec 16th post is just what I needed to hear. Maybe this is right where God wants me. It’s the perfect time and place to be held by Him, trust in Him, and fully experience His faithfulness.

    1. I’m so sorry you are walking through this pain. But, let me assure you, he sees and he hears. He knows your heart, your pain. He is working it all out for his glory and for your good. He holds your future in his hand, and he will lead you into that future one step at a time. Trust him. Let him be your security. Watch him meet you every need. He is faithful!

  4. A good read for me today. Im not just teetering…..I’m pretty sure I’m half over the cliff…under the water….and buried in the dirt. I know my struggles are nothing compared to lots of others. I feel constant guilt for even the slightest complaint….knowing in my “heart of hearts”.. It can ALWAYS be worse. But two years of struggling have just pretty much used me up. I pray. I’ve wrestled. Still I feel no sense of God. There is no doubt He’s real, He hears, and He knows. But it is beginning to feel like all is hopeless. Please remember me in prayer…..

    1. Oh, friend! My heart aches for you! I, too, have been through two years of silence…after a period of unbelievable intimacy with my Savior! I have the feeling that I’m so close, that he’s about to do something huge! But I’m so tired some days I just don’t think I can keep going. Yes, I’ve experienced the miracles of God…and yet, just like the Israelites, I grumble and complain. We are human.

      Lord Jesus, hear the pleas of my dear friend!. Show yourself mighty! Lift her from the muck and the mire. Give her a vision of hope and beauty you have planned for her. Give her strength. You promise your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Pour out your power. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

  5. Loved your article on wrestling with God as well as what you just shared about Jesus taking us out of our comfort zones and stretching our faith so He can get the glory!! So can relate! And have gone through a lot of stretching and leaning on Jesus through some difficult circumstances! He is so faithful! I would love to visit with you! I also go to Life Church in Broken Arrow, Ok. Such s small world! 😊

  6. Dena, very encouraging words. Seperated for 6 months tomorrow from my husband of 32 years… Just want to walk with our Lord and trust Him to show me His way…

    1. Oh, he will show the way! I’m so sorry you are walking through this. It seems no one is immune. But God is so good! I pray you experience an abundance of his love and faithfulness! God bless!

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