Faith and the Art of Base Jumping: the latest milepost on my journey to find joy

If I had to write a title for this chapter of my life, I’d title it “Faith and the Art of Base Jumping.” A lot of my days lately start with my feet hanging over the edge of the bed like they would at the edge of a cliff. I have to push aside the terror that rises when I realize that following this dream means I’m once again in student loan debt. I occasionally see visions of that famous debt clock that is somewhere in New York, ticking off the billions of dollars of government debt that our great-great-grandchildren will be paying for. My own debt clock is a few digits shorter but none the less terrifying.

But there’s a more joyful side to the cliff-edge morning stance. I occasionally am granted a glimpse of the possibilities. I have momentary (uncharacteristic) monents of unreasonable optimism in which I can envision this thread of story leading on into the future and intersecting with the lives of others. I see the healing in the listening. Healing in the telling. I can get a fuzzy picture of what ministry might look like someday. I look behind me and see the accidental ministry that’s already happened. Henry Blackaby has a quote that I’ve learned to live in to: “We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us.” My job lately has been walking around with eyes open, looking for openings and waiting for the gentle push into them. …Okay, who am I kidding here? Sometimes I need a good shove.

Faith is hard. But our concept of it, I think, is erroneously simple. Faith in the abstract sense, looks too much like negative capability, like something that’s an action in the sense that it’s not doing something. But faith is incomplete without the action that must follow it.

Faith is the whole act of sitting in the chair. It’s not found in the distance between your behind and the chair’s seat.

When that chair to which God directs me is one of those Swedish modern chairs that look cool but like they won’t support my ample self, I hesitate. But when I see a room full of people sitting in the same chair, that hesitation subsides. That room full of people is the cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews –the divine cheering section of saints that have already reached the finish line, whose stories are left behind for our encouragement. Sometimes it’s in the voices of the people walking the journey just ahead, just behind, or alongside me. The important thing is to learn how to hear the cheering.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” –Heb. 12:1-3