I remember a conversation I had with my officemate Pam right before I quit my job. I’d been mired in indecision, torn over whether or not I should take the leap from the security of a job I’d held for ten years to the risky unknown of freelance writing. “It’s like you’re at the end of a long, dark hallway,” Pam said to me one morning as we sat at our desks, the sun slanting through the blinds. “You just have to take the first step.”
“Yeah, but I’d like to see a couple of doors down that hallway first,” I replied, laughing. “They don’t even have to be wide open, a sliver of light would be fine. I just want to know the doors are actually there first.”
When I read today’s story about Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:1-17), I wondered if perhaps he had felt a bit like me as he stood on the cusp of freedom. Despite any reservations he may have had, though, Peter reacted immediately to the angel’s call. He didn’t weigh his options. He didn’t hem and haw. He didn’t scratch out a list of pros and cons. When the angel called, Peter obeyed and followed.
Later in the story we learn that Peter hadn’t even realized the angel was real. He’d assumed it was a vision. Yet he had still followed, no questions asked. And when Peter took that first step in obedience, when he slipped on his sandals and followed that angelic vision out of the prison cell, a miraculous thing happened. Every door opened along the way:
They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him. (Acts 12:10)
Only after Peter acted in obedience did he realize it had been an angel of the Lord who had been guiding him to freedom all along.
Walking in faith, trust and obedience is scary. It’s difficult to take that first step, not knowing for sure if the gates will swing open or if the doors will even appear. But sometimes I think God simply wants us to trust him enough to take that first, tentative step, without the signed-on-the-dotted-line guarantee that everything will work out. Sometimes I think God wants us to step out in faith, trusting that he will brighten the dark hallway and open doors along the way.
A year ago this week I took that first step. I quit my job and leaped (or perhaps tiptoed is a better word) into my new life as a writer. Although I hadn’t seen them when I stood at the end of that long, dark hallway, the doors were indeed there. Some of them appeared when I least expected it. Some of the doors had been there all along, and I simply hadn’t seen them until I stepped closer.
Can you think back to a time in your life when you stepped out in faith, not sure the doors would open, or even if the doors were there at all? What happened as a result?
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