Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

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Living On the Edge

  • blogspot for Dena Johnson of Dena's Devos
  • Published Dec 16, 2015

~~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: 2 “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. 3 Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ 4 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. 2 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