Taking that leap of faith
By Jessica Brodie
When I was a kid, my friends and I loved to obsess over what three things we’d bring with us if we were stranded alone on a deserted island. It felt like such a dire question, and our answers—which back then varied by the day depending on our mood—spoke volumes about our personalities and priorities.
My three would be anything from the practical (sunscreen, a book, and water) to the silly (chocolate, lip gloss, and a deck of Uno). But secretly the game always horrified me: How could I possibly pick just three? Three would never be enough! Besides, I was fickle. Surely I’d tire of whatever book I brought.
And stranded somewhere all alone had to be the worst thing ever. I didn’t even like my own company for fifteen minutes—forget on a deserted island with zero diversions!
Over the years, my perspective has changed, thankfully. I like myself now… a lot! I don’t need something in my hands or on my mind at all times like I used to. I don’t need to fill every conversation with empty words. I’ve come to embrace the quiet, silence, solitude, simplicity—all the things that deep down frightened me most about the prospect of Being Alone on a Deserted Island. Not that I ever want that to happen, but I know if it did, I’d make do with whatever, and God would be my company. Somehow, everything would be just fine. Somehow, I know He’d turn it into good.
Reading Genesis 45 somehow brings all this to mind. See, in this chapter, all the land was suffering from great famine and Joseph—unlikely savior of the same family who’d sold him into slavery all those years ago—has just invited his brother and his fathers to leave everything they held dear to journey from Canaan to the heart of Egypt, where they would have food, drink, new land, and everything else they wanted courtesy of Joseph and his boss, the pharaoh. Joseph told his brothers, “Don’t worry about your possessions because you will have good things from the entire land of Egypt"” (Genesis 45:20 CEB).
We know the outcome of the story. All we have to do is flip a few pages and see the brothers did make it back to their father, did share the good news that their brother was indeed alive after so many years, did travel across the land to resettle in Egypt, where they received new land and all the grain they needed to survive and thrive.
But how difficult must it have been for Joseph’s father, Jacob, to trust in these promises. Essentially, Jacob—ruler of the family, descendant of Abraham and Isaac—had to believe everything would be just fine on this “unknown deserted island.” Not only would things be fine, but they’d be so much better! He had to believe and then follow through.
And he did! The story had a happy ending because Jacob did just this. He abandoned the safe and charted a course for this new reality. First he went to God, prayed, and got confirmation. But still, he did it. It had to have been scary. They were on the cusp of starving to death in the very land God had led his family to settle in, and here was this new opportunity. What should they bring for the trip? Could they truly risk it all? What nerve! There was no safety net—if they fell, that was it.
Sometimes today, God calls us to really tough things. It might be leaving our cushy suburban life to become a missionary and move to a poverty-stricken country where we might be the only Christians. It might be going on that first date after years of rejection and loneliness. It might be taking that new job, or leaving a job to start a business.
But faith is hearing a call, discerning whether that call really is from God, and then acting—even when it feels like the destination is a deserted island and you don’t even have your “three things” as comfort.
“Don’t worry,” Scripture says, for “you will have good things.” Those good things might not be exactly the ones you envision. But God has a plan, and everything will be just fine.
Have you ever been in this situation? Did you take the leap or stay put? If you leapt, did it work out?