There are the parts of our journey that require painful faith.
Perhaps we're confronted with a decision. We may sense direct guidance from the Lord, or only a vague tugging based on what we know to be true of Him and His Word.
Maybe He is leading us towards something new. Or He is asking us to wait patiently, remaining faithful in the seemingly small.
I was recently struck by a story I read of obedience with lasting repercussions.
A long time ago there was a man named Jacob who lived through countless ups and downs. Maybe you've read about him. He had been seriously wronged, and he had wronged others.
Like the rest of us, he could only see the trajectory of his life one day at a time with no ability to understand the greater story he was being written into.
There was a pivotal moment when he had to trust God and move forward in faith. He packed up his entire family and all their belongings and began a journey back to a place wrought with painful memories and broken relationships. It felt uncertain and ridiculous I'm sure.
But as he settled into his new home the Lord's provision was real. His family put down roots.
He built a well.
And just like Jacob we struggle to make sense of our trials and the paths the Lord may direct towards.
We may feel him leading us to an uncomfortable level of sacrifice and have a hard time seeing how He's really going to come through in the end.
Yet, we ask for strength and take another step forward. Even when we don't understand.
In the simple acts of obedience, Jesus shows up.
Jacob's well stood strong for years and years, providing water for generations.
Then one day a Samaritan woman, who had made mistakes like Jacob and like us, came for water. She approached the well that day with a lot on her mind. Her thoughts were interrupted when a man spoke to her.
The man, Jesus, looked past her appearance and her reputation and he saw her heart.
Jesus showed up at the well, the same well built on faith and obedience all those years before. Even then, hundreds of years later, God was using Jacob's journey to continue His story of redemption.
Do you see what I'm saying?
Jacob obeyed God's voice.
He stepped forward in faith.
The well he built represented a step of obedience.
For hundreds of years the well stood and served a purpose.
Then Jesus walked up to that very well.
Jesus took the story that began with a step of faith and continued it by offering forgiveness and beautiful life.
What if we trust God when he calls us to the counter cultural or the uncomfortable?
What if we allow our faith to trump our need for control? What if we really believe that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can conceive what God has prepared for those who love Him?
As we step forward our stories weave together into something much greater than we can imagine.
And best of all, in faith and obedience we meet Jesus.
The two intersecting stories above are found in Genesis 31-33 and John 4.