Splitting your pants is never fun. Splitting the ski pants you borrowed while learning to ski with friends can be a little funny … in retrospect. Several friends and I decided to go skiing in Mammoth. I was the only freshman skier so I decided to brave the slopes with them and learn along the way–no bunny slopes for me. Besides, I was a figure skater. How hard could skiing really be? After struggling to extricate myself from the ski lift, I was ready for the first run. After a 30-second lesson, I headed down the mountain in the middle of the pack, primarily so that someone would be able to report my death or maiming to the appropriate authorities. I started feeling pretty good. I was weaving back and forth just like the pros (in my mind, at least). However, I was picking up more and more speed even though I was trying to dig the edges of the skis in deeper with every turn. I leaned too much, fell, and slid on my backside halfway down the mountain. When I tried to stand up, I heard muffled giggling. I turned to my friend who couldn’t suppress the laughter any longer. My pants had split at the seam and gathered so much snow during the slide that I looked like a cottontail bunny rabbit. Though it was embarrassing, I couldn’t help but laugh along. The next morning we headed out again (with a new pair of pants for me). By the end of the trip, I was attempting the more difficult slopes and remaining upright the entire time! What started out with a bit of embarrassment became one of my favorite sports.
“New situations are only new arenas for faith to be proved.” Elisabeth Elliot
Skiing was a new arena for me to prove myself. When God calls us out to follow Him in a new situation, we can use that situation as an opportunity for our faith to be proved.
Hebrews 11 is filled to overflowing with a record of those who have gone before us proving their faith in our faithful God in the midst of all sorts of new situations. Noah obeyed God, building an ark years before the first drop of rain. Abraham left his home, traveled through hostile land, and waited years before God’s promise was fulfilled … only to be asked to sacrifice that promise. Isaac and Jacob blessed their sons with future blessings. Joseph made plans on his deathbed to be included in the exodus of the Israelites which came to fruition generations later. After being spared from slaughter, Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt through years of testing to the promised land. The Israelites trusted God’s provision and protection as they marched through the Red Sea and around Jericho.
These are but a sampling of those who used the situation to which God called them as an opportunity for their faith to be proved.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a NLT)
Let’s draw strength from the testimony of the faithful who have gone before us as well as the faithful who are serving God in new situations all around us. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus and eagerly look forward to having our faith proved and perfected.