There was a scene in X-Men First Class that I remember fondly. Banshee (the guy with sonar voice) was standing on top of the satellite dish with Charles Xavier and Eric Lansherr. He was wearing his new flying cape which Beast made for him so he could “fly” by propelling himself upwards with the sound waves from his voice.
Banshee: Do you really believe I can do this?
Banshee: I trust you.
Charles: Thank you.
Banshee: I don’t trust him. (pointing towards Beast)
Charles: (To Beast) Say nothing.
Banshee: I am going to die!
But first, Banshee had to jump off the dish. That required him two things. First, he had to believe with absolute certainty that Beast has made him a flying cape that will catch the wind as sound waves from his voice propels him off the ground. Second, he had to believe he had the abilities to do it. It would be impossible of him to jump off if he did not believe, and it would be useless for him to even try if he did not have the ability. Because he has already got to this point, it meant he definitely had the ability.
He whined, whinged and pottered around a bit. Guess what happened next? Eric Lansherr shoved (literally) off the satellite. Facing a life and death situation, Banshee spread his arms, yelled and in a magical moment, the sound waves propelled him off the ground. He curved up beautifully, swopped down and past the satellite dish.
This reminds me of how God guides non-obviously. In his sermon My Plans:God’s Plans, Keller said that God’s guidance is what He does, more than what He gives. To know that I have received guidance is to experience it in situations, and be shown through deliverance. God definitely has given me the ability to survive and even excel in certain situations. However, if He had only told me about my abilities but never given me the opportunity, would I know my abilities are real? If I had not acted on what skills I were given, I will never be convinced.
However most of the time, the likely situation resembles me as Banshee. Hovering on the edge, gripping tightly the lifebuoy of God, with the fore-knowledge that God will be with me, I linger, whine, make a million excuses why I cannot. “I will die.”, “I will never ever ever get through it. It is so hard!” and the obvious “why me?! Pick someone else.” What happens in the end? God gets fed up and shoves me in.
There are two ways I could deal with being shoved in. I could either fall to my death, or rather just complain about bad luck. Or I could, use my life buoy, and dog peddle to the other end which God has directed. What most of us, even myself, could never realise is when we rely on God, we definitely will reach the other end. And we will emerge, more transformed, and closer to what God wants us to be.
God does not give us a safety rope, hold it and drag us to shore. God does not piggy back us to the end. What God does is to push us into situations so we learn how to use the gifts He has given so we can become better, closer to what He is (we were made in His image after all), and become more able to make better decisions. In the process, He calls us to be entirely trusting in Him just as He does for us, and have full confidence in Him as we leap. Complete trust is being able to leap confidently and with abandonment unot Him.
The outcome of God’s testing is always beautiful, no matter how frightening and dark it may be. It always ends with a beautiful swop and triumph whoop.