As my final days as an undergrad draw nearer and nearer, I have begun to notice a slight tendency in my thinking. I’m at that stage now where I start to wonder and oftentimes worry about what I’m going to do when I graduate. Am I just going to continue working at my job and making ends meet? I certainly want to because it seems safe and secure, but is that what God wants me to do? More often than not, I find myself wanting to merely survive; to work the hours allotted to me and just get by. But something different is encouraged in the Scriptures; something rather bold.
For the last couple of days, I’ve started reading a chapter of Proverbs in the morning and a chapter at night. Today’s chapter was four and as usual, most of the material didn’t sink much deeper than the surface. I skimmed through almost all the verses without a second thought. But then I crossed verse 12 and something odd stood out to me; “When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.” I immediately thought of swimming pools and the 3rd grade.
Back then, we had mandatory swimming lessons wherein we’d walk down to the community center and listen to some instructor yell at us about kicking our legs harder, but not making a bigger splash and how we should walk instead of run around the pool. It’s this mentality of walking rather than running that seems to be a common theme throughout Christianity; we’d rather keep our faith to ourselves in our slow walks with the Lord than run with our confidence in Him.
I’m right there with the worst of them; don’t get me wrong. It is so much easier and more desirable to get into the habit of going to church every Sunday morning, go to school, go to work, and then maybe read your Bible here and there throughout the week. It isn’t as if we live merely to have routines, but more so that we want comfort over difficulty, security over anxiety, or certainty over uncertainty. But as I’ve come to realize with the onslaught of college-senior anxieties, faith isn’t always so certain. At times, like right now, we don’t know where we’re going or if we should be going anywhere at all. It’s in our human instinct to place our faith in ourselves and in what we believe to be certain and stable. But I believe God wants a much deeper trust out of us.
I believe what He wants is highlighted right here in Proverbs 4:12; that, instead of trusting our ability to run, we ought to trust in Him and His ways – the path that will hold us up. It’s like the child who is first learning to ride a bike with his or her dad’s hands holding them up as they pedal like crazy. After a while, the dad gradually begins to let go (probably because he’s a little out of shape and can’t keep up, but mostly because he wants the child to learn how to gain balance); our faith in God operates in a very similar manner. He teaches us how to walk, He gives us instruction that will guard our hearts, and little by little, He helps us to ride fast.
Unlike earthly fathers, though, God does not let go. It’s not in Him to abandon His children like it was in my father to leave me. I don’t know if it’s a question of love, but rather a question of fearlessness. God certainly loves us regardless of where we have been and what we have done, but even beyond loving us unconditionally, He is the only Father we have who leads us without any fear whatsoever. He knows where He wants us to go and if we are willing to trust Him with all our hearts, He’ll help us to run there.
What does this mean, exactly? Most of my recent thoughts about my future have been pragmatic; study hard, work hard, and you’ll find a secure job that’ll take care of you. But then there are moments where I become intensely passionate about pursuing dreams of an author, dreams of teaching Scripture, or dreams of merely following my heart and where God leads it. Those moments disrupt my plans of finding a safe and secure job because regardless of what reasons I may give for seeking the simple and stable, the adventure in following God becomes much more desirable. Essentially, I often want to run instead of walk.
When we follow God’s instruction, we’re able to do both. At times we do need to walk instead of run, but at other times, God wants us to run with our faith into the unknown trusting not in our own abilities to hold ourselves up, but rather in His ability to keep our balance though we may run through chaotic and turbulent times.
In last night’s reading of Proverbs 3, I came across a similar passage about God’s ability to sustain us; “Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught,” (v. 25-26). God the Father – not our religions, not our jobs, not our bank accounts, not our retirement plans – will be our confidence.
One of the main consistencies throughout Scripture is the apparent desire of God for His children to trust Him, whatever may come their way. And time after time after time, His people – us – just didn’t seem to get it. I can’t say that I have a clear understanding of what is going to happen in the days following my graduation; but I can say that God wants me to trust Him so that whatever may happen, His will is accomplished and my heart and soul are content, satisfied, and confident in Him.
God wants us to run and enjoy the freedom that His Son gave us – even through the major transitions in life.