You pick it up. I’ll carry it.

First of all, happy 2012! Hope it’s gotten to a great start for everyone!

I spent Christmas weekend with my cousin and her family in Pennsylvania. At one point, my mom mentioned something she witnessed between my cousin’s husband and daughter.

The three-year-old daughter had left something on the floor, and her dad wanted her to pick it up. She told him that she couldn’t carry it, so his reply was, “You pick it up. I’ll carry it.”

I love that line, not just because it was good parenting, but because it’s such a great picture of what God wants to tell us sometimes. And we need to hear both parts of it.

The part I’ve always tended to hear about in church is “I’ll carry it.” So important for many of us who are high achievers and keep wanting to make things happen. We can become so results-oriented that we leave God out of the picture. And in His love, He won’t let us continue to make results our god, so He will sometimes break down those results we were so intent on.

It’s in those spaces that we realize that results don’t come from our labors and toils but from His grace and kindness. I’ve seen that happen plenty in ministry, and my mind goes to Abraham as a Biblical example. God kept him from having children with Sarah until such a time that having Isaac could be attributed only to God.

But the first part is very important for those of us who have heard the second part and begun to rest too comfortably in it. Taken the wrong way, we can come to a place where we start to believe that God will take care of everything, and we just need to relax. I was there for a while, and although it always felt uneasy, I was quite content to stay there.

The problem with this view isn’t only that we can get lazy and stupid or something. The real problem is that we can miss out on the miracles God has for us. Whenever God performed miracles in the Bible, He required a step of faith. A step into the unknown, where I’m going to fall if no one catches me. Some of the commitments are bigger than others in our minds, but there’s always a commitment on our part. I think the lesson here is that God can do great things with even our smallest step of faith.

When Jesus turned water into wine, it was in response to his mother Mary calling for him when the wine ran dry at the wedding. She didn’t know what he would do, but she knew he could do something. The Bible says Jesus could not (note, it doesn’t say “would not” but “could not”) perform miracles in Galilee because of people’s unbelief. Peter could see Jesus walking on the water, but to experience it, he had to step out of the boat.

We have to understand that when God performs miracles, He wants to involve us. We get to be part of the story. But the first step can often be an uncomfortable one. It’s a lot easier to just stay where it’s comfortable, where it feels safe. But we’re in a spiritual war. Nowhere is safe. Eventually, if you insist on staying in your comfort zone, God in His mercy may draw you out. Or even scarier if you make a habit of it, eventually relent and let you stay.

Imagine being in a bunker on a battlefield. Thinking about stepping out of that safe bunker is an uncomfortable thought. But you can’t win by staying inside. You may not lose, but you can’t win. Your team might win that day, but you didn’t. On the other hand, if your team loses, you’ll be forced out of the bunker, without the opportunity to make a difference.

What’s your biggest challenge today? Where do you need to trust God? And where do you need to act on that trust by taking a step of faith, as uncomfortable as it feels?

Will you choose to move forward, or will you wait until God pushes you? And, what if He stops pushing?

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