Are you up to a challenge?
The mere question can send some into hiding while others bristle with excitement. A challenge calls us to be tested and face the risk of failure, loss or worse.
Not many people would train to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls, even with a safety harness. Most would be immobilized by their fear and weakness and need to be rescued.
A few of you might love the idea of risking life and limb for the thrill of a lifetime. Are there any bungee jumpers in our midst today?
Sir Edmund Hillary died in 2008 after a lifetime of challenges and accomplishments. On May 29th, 1953 he and his guide were the first climbers confirmed to have reached the peak of Mount Everest.
Edmund Hillary said, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” [i]
Before we face a daunting challenge, we must first conquer ourselves. We must be willing to believe that we can do it.
Years ago new engineers in the Lamp Division of General Electric were assigned, as a joke, the impossible task of frosting bulbs on the inside. Eventually, however, an undaunted newcomer named Marvin Pipkin not only found a way to frost bulbs on the inside; he developed an etching acid that gave minutely rounded pits instead of sharp depressions. This materially strengthened each bulb. Fortunately, no one had told him it couldn't be done, so he did it.[ii]
If we are to have faith, we must allow our fears to be conquered. Are you afraid of failure? Does the fear of embarrassment hold you back? Does the fear of death cause you to freeze on the high wire?
There is a difference between knowing your limits and just being afraid. Edmund Hillary counted the cost and addressed his fears by taking calculated steps with appropriate equipment. He did not set out one sunny day in May wearing Khaki shorts, a light shirt and a canteen of water. He planned and prepared and calculated for a long time before embarking upon the challenge. Once committed, he pursued the challenge realizing the incredible risk involved.
God calls us to incredible challenges that require us to extend faith in Him to see us through. God is like a skydiver who invites us to jump with Him strapped to His chest. He knows that He is in control and secure. Though we are insecure He invites us to a life of faith that will challenge our greatest fears.
A 'Dare-devil' is a person who takes on extreme and absurd challenges to impress others and show your power to beat death. The 'Dare God' invites you to face challenges in order that you might see His power to conquer death and truly live.
His love is the antidote to every earthly fear.
[ii] Bits & Pieces, December 1989, p. 20-21.