Summary: Part 5 of a series on Blackaby’s Experiencing God: when God invites into some new truth, the first crisis will be one of personal belief; the second is one of tension between old patterns and new options; and the last comes in the temptation to fall back
There’s an old, old story about the time a crowd had gathered to watch a stunt man perform at Niagara Falls. It seems that the fellow had rigged up a wire from shore to shore, right across the falls, and was wowing the crowd by riding a bicycle along that wire. Back and forth he went, several times, and so, to make it more exciting, he asked the crowd if they believed he could make it across while carrying various things. First, he held up a suitcase and an umbrella, and asked, “Do you believe I can make it across the falls carrying these?” Since people had seen what he could do without anything in his hands, and it was pretty impressive, most of them shouted, “Yes, yes, we believe.” Sure enough, he got all the way across and back with no trouble. Next he picked up a violin and a bow, and asked the crowd, “Now do you believe I can ride my bike on this thin wire, across these falls, while I play my fiddle?” Again, they had seen incredible things, and so they shouted out again, “Yes, yes, we believe.” It was just astonishing to listen to a string of bluegrass fiddlin’ wafting out over the roaring waters of Niagara. He did it!
Finally the stunt man picked up a chair, and said, “Now I have just one more question. Do you believe I can put somebody in this chair and balance them on my bike and ride across the falls? Do you believe I can do this?” Well, the crowd went wild. They cheered and they whistled. They stomped and they shouted. “Sure. Yes. Go for it. We believe. We believe.”
“All right,” said he. “If you believe, I now need for one believer to step forward and sit in the chair.” How many do you think stepped forward?.
Which just means that there is often a tremendous gap between what we say we believe and what we really believe. A disconnect between our ideas and our commitment. A very large gap.
Did you know that when God invites us to do something, it will always lead to a crisis of belief? What we think we believe will go into tension with what God asks us to do, and there will be a crisis. When the moment of truth comes, and God invites us to sit in the chair going over the falls, then we will find ourselves in crisis.
I am sure you have heard before, that the Chinese character translated into English as “crisis” means, at its root, “dangerous opportunity.” A crisis is a dangerous opportunity; it is scary, but it holds out something wonderful at the same time..
When the earliest Christians met the new convert Saul of Tarsus, it was not easy. It caused a crisis. This man Saul had been the most zealous persecutor of Christians. He had gone to great lengths to make sure they were stamped out. But Saul had met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus one day, and everything changed. Saul became Paul; the enemy of the church became its newest son. The preacher of death became the proclaimer of new life. Can you just imagine the folks in the Jerusalem church? “Do you know who’s coming to preach here today? I’m afraid to show up at church this week!” Crisis!