I have friends that LOVE Disney World. I mean, they LOVE, LOVE it. Year after year, every chance they get, that’s where they take their kids on family vacations. They can talk for hours about it and tell you all kinds of tips and tricks of what to do or not to do, or what their favorite part of the park is. They have this kind of in-depth knowledge because they’ve experienced Disney World several times; they’ve spent hours walking through it.
I, on the other hand, have heard about it. I’ve seen pictures and know about it, but I’ve never personally experienced it. I’ve never set foot on the miles of pavement that makeup Disney World. While I might be able to give you some information about it based on what I’ve heard over the years from the experiences of others, I don’t know about Disney World myself, and honestly, I don’t think I’d trust my recall on the tips and tricks 3rd hand.
My friends who know Disney World so intimately have an in-depth understanding because they have spent time here. They have spent countless weeks of vacations here. Knowing that at some point I, too, will venture to the great homeland of Mickey, I envy their knowledge and know how much I’ll have wished I had spent time there before I plan a trip for my family.
So often in our walk with God, we want to skip over the walking through something and jump ahead to the knowledge and blessings we know are waiting for us on the other side. It’s easy for us to read story after story in the Bible of someone having to spend countless years walking through something difficult before receiving God’s blessings. Maybe in chapter 1 we read how the Israelites are in bondage; by chapter 2 they’re free; chapter 3 finds them wandering in the desert before we read in chapter 4 that they’ve made it to the Promise Land. In one 15-minute sitting, we can skim over decades of life spent walking THROUGH God’s plans. Whether it’s the story of David, Joseph, Abraham, Noah, etc. it’s only a few pages or chapters later before we read of God’s divine hand providing the promised blessing.
In our instant gratification world, it’s easy to see why our own experiences of walking through something seem incomprehensible. We step out in faith, believing God to provide and trusting Him to part the Red Sea only to get to the water’s edge and realize JUST HOW BIG and HOW WIDE and HOW FAR we will have to cross, seemingly alone. Doubt sets in. Maybe well-intended friends offer their words of ‘advice’ that surely THIS is not what God meant, and that He must have meant for YOU to go a different, easier route that seems far more logical than to walk THROUGH the vastness of the Red Sea alone.
But what if He did? In that still, small, quiet voice that spoke deep in your heart, He asked you to do just that. What if God is asking you to trust HIM, not logic or your friends or anything else, and to walk THROUGH the path that lays before you. What if it’s THIS path that will develop in you the faith and obedience you need for the calling He has placed on your life. What if it’s in THIS path that He has prepared countless blessings and surprises for you that allow you to experience, FIRST-HAND, who God really is? What if the ONLY way to REALLY know God and to be prepared for where He wants to send you and how He wants to use you is to walk countless hours, alone with Him, and experience WHO He is for yourself as you walk THROUGH this illogical path?
As with all things, you can gain knowledge about something through the experiences of others, but the ONLY way you can gain personal knowledge that will strengthen and encourage you, and in turn, give you a personal testimony you can share with others is to walk THROUGH THIS experience for yourself. Do you really want to go your entire life reading about God or EXPERIENCING Him for yourself? The choice is yours.