“See, you can trust me!” my husband assured our son as they plowed in through the door. “Wanna show Mom?”

Ethan nodded. So I gladly laid the dishes back in the sink and quickly followed them out to the front yard, anxious to witness their latest adventure.

E, just a few days shy of turning 5, took a deep breath and braced himself as Brandon boosted him up to the first landing of the tree outside our home. He got his footing, stood up straight and flashed a huge grin my direction, “look, I climbed a tree!”

I was so proud. Not necessarily at his climbing ability, because, let’s be real: he didn’t actually do much climbing. But for our cautious oldest child, I knew this was quite a feat of bravery. Simply trying something new, getting out of his comfort zone and conquering a height that scared him took courage and boldness.

He stayed in the tree for a while, scoping out the view from his new vantage point, then asked his dad to help him down. Brandon later filled me in that the first ascent up the tree wasn’t quite as smooth. Ethan was scared and let it get the best of him. He cried and resisted thinking he didn’t want to climb the tree after all. He wasn’t convinced at first that the risk was worth the reward. The outcome was unknown. What if he fell or got stuck? How would he get back to solid ground safely? Focusing on those questions overwhelmed him, almost to the point of missing out on the experience all together. Come to find out, being up in a tree was awesome! Luckily, his father persisted to gently remind him that he was there and could be trusted to make sure he stayed safe.

Most of the time, I feel the same way whenever God nudges me to step out in faith and take on a new challenge. My first response is one of timidity and concern about all the things that could go wrong. I think about why it’s not really logical, practical or safe to go through with it. But all the while, my Father patiently reassures me that He’s by my side and worthy of trust. He’s proven it time and time again. I’m beginning to realize that God requires us to surrender our doubt and depend solely on him in order to grow. Like a dad longing for his son to experience the thrill of climbing a tree, so our Heavenly Father longs for us to be transformed by his love as we follow him in faith.

Following Jesus feels risky at the start, but climbing into God’s story is actually the safest place we can be.

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