“Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.” Job 10:2
God trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers and climb mountains, and walk many a weary mile with heavy knapsacks on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is not this the reason why He is contending with you?
To be left unmolested by Satan is no evidence of blessing. (Streams in the Desert)
There is no saving faith apart from a crisis of faith; there can be no new horizon for faith without a mountain to climb. Discipleship demands growth, and growth results from addressing and conquering successive challenges. Worship that lulls into narcissistic slumber is not authentic. Genuine faith always draws me out of myself and refocuses all on Christ. It is not enough to have your heart moved; you must move your feet. Take the first step or the next step. God orchestrates moments of holy discontent to prevent us from settling for the comforts of this world.
Do not fear. Acknowledge your problems on your knees, then get back on your feet and advance. Jesus relentlessly offers us unsafe situations to make us braver Christians. Adversity requires us to either seek safety or seek courage. The Father wants us to be brave for our own benefit—God knows there is no joy in fear. We lead sad and small lives when we are afraid. He needs brave people to do His work in the world. We are called to tell the truth in a world of lies, to love people in need in a hurting world; this will be dangerous. Following Jesus eventually demands us to either be brave or be safe; we cannot do both. Choosing to be brave means choosing not to be safe. The goodness of God shows through the courage of the people of God. Discipleship is by design a dangerous adventure. When you catch yourself saying “I’ll follow if,” or praying, “Tell me the path, tell me the cost, tell me it will succeed,” you can know the Father responds by saying:
“But if I do that, I wouldn’t have to make you brave. I love you more than that.”