Why Choose to Believe?

By Brooke G

Out of all the creeping, crawling things of the earth and all the blood-chilling events and activities available, some people seem to think my three greatest fears are a little irrational. And maybe they are! But biggest fears aren’t really about being rational anyways, right? So my three completely justifiable biggest fears are monkeys, getting shocked while opening car doors, and jumping.

Although I am used to explaining the reasons behind all of these, let me delve into the third fear a little deeper: jumping. I hate jumping! Perhaps I can redeem myself a little by adjusting my fear to jumping off things; I am not scared of heights or of falling, or even of hitting the ground, but the actual act of stepping off into nothingness. For some reason when I am confronted with the prospect of jumping off something, my brain commands “Do NOT take another step,” and my body more than willingly complies. This makes my relationship with inanimate objects like trampolines, diving boards, and locked fence gates rather complicated.

However, if I ever can get around my mental stumbling block, the jump itself is never a problem – like when I’m standing on the end of the diving board, I’m terrified until I take the first bounce before the dive. As soon as I make the choice to jump and act on that choice, my “irrational” fear dissipates.

In the story of Paul and King Agrippa found in chapter 26 of Acts, Paul has been accused of treason and is testifying before the Roman rulers. After bearing a powerful witness of how his own life has changed after deciding to follow Jesus Christ, Agrippa’s response is recorded in verse 28: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” King Agrippa was so close to believing! To me it seems like he admired what believing produces – maybe he was drawn to Paul’s dedication and surety in his purpose – but the actual act of choosing to believe was too much. I think we can all relate to King Agrippa in this way. So often we long for the things promised to us for following Jesus Christ – such as happiness, peace, comfort, support, and direction – but taking the initial leap of faith appears overwhelming.

The summer before my senior year of high school, one of my friends persuaded me to go cliff-jumping with him at a lake. Apparently some humans find this activity “fun.” After many a pep-talk, I was feeling confident and up to the task – until we hiked up the cliff and walked over to the edge. Once I got about two feet from the side, my brain issued its usual command of “Do NOT take another step,” and I more than willingly complied. Unfortunately, my friend was not on the same page as me and my brain. After a few minutes of unsuccessful persuasion techniques, he picked me up and THREW ME OFF THE CLIFF, jumping in right after me.

Now, with matters of faith, I know we have a friend who is always right by our sides when we are deciding whether to jump or not. And while I don’t think Jesus Christ is going to throw us off our figurative cliffs of faith, I know that the second we jump, He jumps with us. When I was choosing where to live my freshman year of college, I felt very strongly that I should apply for a room on my own – even though two of my best friends and I had been planning to room with each other all year. As I acted on this prompting, I felt like I was putting my life into God’s hands – climbing a cliff, if you will. As I look back on that choice to jump, it is clear to me that the Savior has been guiding my life. The relationships I have with my previously unknown roommates have been life altering in the best ways possible.

My point is, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there are no solo jumps. I know that our Savior is just waiting for us to recognize how much He has to offer and come unto Him. He will be there as we climb our cliffs of faith and make the leap.
And besides, in my experience those who jump always have more fun than those who don’t.

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