The leaping ability of the African impala is impressive. It can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover distances of greater than 30 feet. Despite these impressive statistics, an impala can be kept easily in any zoo. It doesn’t take a high fence or a wide moat to hold them captive. They can be kept from jumping with a 3-foot wall. This is due to a particular quirk of this animal: an impala will not jump if it cannot see where its feet will fall.
We can live as “spiritual impalas.” God calls us to obedience, to deeper trust and to experience his goodness in new ways, but we hesitate because we can’t see the end he has in mind. This is why we must “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
When what we perceive and what God says seem to run contrary to each other, what do we do? Panic? Worry? Scheme? Fear, anxiety and manipulation are all indicators of a heart relying upon itself. Where circumstances meet our will is the proving ground of faith.
Even when we might not be able to perceive where the next step will land us, God sees all things and shares none of our limitations (Hebrews 4:13; Psalm 33:13). When his truth seems to run contrary to our narrow understanding of reality, we must trust his view. By faith, we must choose to live with the understanding that he sees past what we see (Habakkuk 2:4).
Once, while wrestling with these ideas about faith, I flipped through an old bible of mine and came across a note a friend of mine had jotted in the margin of a page. It read: “Experiences that demand an exhibition of faith on our part are the ones that most significantly impact us.” When we respond to God and trust him to do what only he can do, we can see him work in unimaginable ways. Those moments increase our faith as we see more clearly that we can always take God at his word.
Is there an area of your life where you can’t see where your feet might fall? What is God calling you to do that will require the exercise of your faith? Will you tell God that no matter where obedience to him leads you, your answer is “yes”?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” – Hebrews 11:1, 6
We will look beyond temporal things as we trust the better reality of the eternal, unseen things of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:18 As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
We will wait for God’s promises with patience. – Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Our love for and joy in Jesus would continue to grow as we walk in faith with him. – 1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.