A few days ago, I took a “leap of faith” at Waimano Falls–a 15 or 20 foot jump from a ledge into a small pool of water below. I must say that although I knew that this was a common activity at these falls, I in no way intended to make that jump myself! But after watching my husband’s and son’s successful jumps, and being miserably covered in mud and sweat from the hike down, I decided that I was not leaving without doing it. So I made my way up to the “jumping off place,” feeling less-than-confident as I approached the ledge. And then I had a conversation that gave me pause. There was a lady perched up over the pool, enjoying watching the activity below. As I crept closer, she pointed out to me the best spot to stand, and yelled down to the people below that I was preparing to jump. I expressed to her my nervousness and doubt that I could really do it, and she listened with a sympathetic ear. She said, “You’ll be fine! Just don’t think too much and psych yourself out. You can do it!” Still waiting for the people below to clear out of the way, and still suspended in my own uncertainty, I asked her, “How was it? Did you enjoy the jump?” It was then that she looked at me like I was crazy and said, “What? Oh, I didn’t do it! I didn’t jump!” REALLY?? You are going to sit up here giving me advice on how to make a 20-foot jump into a small pool and YOU’VE NEVER DONE IT?? Thankfully, I had already received reliable guidance from two family members who HAD made the jump on how to position myself and what to expect, so I went on and made that leap in full confidence that I could do it if I could just overcome my fear.
My conversation with the lady up on that ledge caused me to reflect on how grateful I am that, when I am embarking on a new life adventure, when I am struggling with sin, or when I hit tough circumstances or life events, I have Christian friends and family who have gone before me in similar circumstances who graciously provide wisdom, advice, and physical, emotional, and spiritual support. And how very thankful I am that we “do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).” Not only that, Jesus doesn’t sit up in Heaven yelling down, “You can do it! Just don’t think too much and psych yourself out!” No, He is right there with me on those faith ledges: “…I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory (Psalm 73:23-24).”