Recently I found myself killing time reading an old National Geographic magazine while waiting for my car to be repaired. I chose this particular magazine out of a stack of options available in the waiting room because the cover story was on animals of Kenya. I have friends who are missionaries in Kenya, so I thought I would redeem the time by learning more about the country.
The article was an interesting read, particularly when it got to the part about the “African Impala”. If you’re not familiar with that animal, it’s a medium-sized antelope that inhabits the grasslands of eastern Africa. From what I read, it seems that the African Impala is a fairly typical antelope. It grazes on a variety of wild grasses. It is a fast runner. And it can jump higher than 10 feet up, and cover distances greater than 30 feet in length in one leap.
So, knowing that the African Antelope is quick and agile, I was surprised to read that they are kept in zoos with walls that are usually only three feet high. Why? Because African Impalas will not jump if they can't see where their feet will land.
As I read that strange fact, I realized that most of us have something in common with these antelopes. We might be ABLE to take great leaps of faith, but more often than not, we refuse to do so unless we can see where we'll land. The problem with that attitude is that it’s not really “faith”. Hebrews 11:1 puts it like this, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” In other words, “faith” is moving forward when God calls us to go - even if we can’t see what’s next. I once heard a pastor describe it like this: "Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends.”
True faith cannot see how the landing will occur - it simply leaps under the conviction that it WILL occur. And this is important to keep in mind, because God calls us to be people who live by faith. The Apostle Paul makes this clear in 2 Corinthians 5:7, when he tells us that we are to “live by faith, not by sight”.
So today, let’s be people of faith. Let’s listen to what God is calling us to do, and then, let’s do it - no matter what. Let’s follow God in faith, even if we can’t see where we might land.