A few weeks ago at the height of summer, I took my kids to a local water park for the day.
My older girls were slipping down water slides while my two-year-old son and I hung out in a splash area for little kids.
While we were there, I prayed for God’s help as I prepared for the October release of my new book, Anywhere Faith: Overcome Fear, Insecurity, and Excuses and Say Yes to God.
I asked God to give me a picture or story to share with others that described what it meant to have “Anywhere Faith.”
At the water park that day, my son, Andrew, found this one particular slide he just loved. He would climb up the steps, wait in line, slide down, and then run around to get back in line and do it all over again.
But he wasn’t always waiting his turn. If he thought one of the kids in front of him hesitated for even a split second, Andrew would nudge his way forward and slide right down.
His two-year-old brain was probably thinking: “if you’re not going to go down right now, I sure will!”
Since I want my son to learn about waiting, patience and taking turns, I stationed myself up on the slide platform to make sure he didn’t get in front of the other kids.
That’s when I saw the “Anywhere Faith picture” I’d been praying for.
A little girl, maybe two years old, had discovered the same slide as my son. She was decked out in her little polka dot bathing suit with frills around her waist and her hair pulled into a tiny ponytail.
Her daddy walked with her up the steps and waited with her while the other kids slid down. Then, just as it was her turn to slide, he’d run back down the steps and around to the bottom so he could catch her.
In the meantime, she positioned herself on the slide, laying down on her belly, feet-first (so she couldn’t even see the bottom) and gripping the top of the water slide with all her might.
She hung there for a few seconds, waiting and waiting and waiting. No way was she letting go before her daddy was at the bottom of the slide.
Then, she’d hear her daddy say, “Okay, Abby, come on down!”
That was her cue. Immediately, she let go and splashed down to the bottom where he was waiting to catch her.
When I was a teenager, I discovered a poetic prayer written by the missionary, David Livingstone, that began like this:
Lord send me anywhere,
only go with me
Of course, God has certainly changed any plans I made as a 16-year-old girl. He brought me to unexpected places of ministry and service for Him.
I definitely didn’t know as a teenager where my “Anywhere” was.
But I’m still just like the little girl who splashed down a water slide backwards because she knew her daddy called her to come and was there for her.
when God calls my name, I want to let go of anything holding me back and follow him anywhere he asks me to go.
David Livingstone knew He needed God’s presence in order to live in faith. “Lord send me anywhere only go with me, ” he prayed
That little girl on a water slide knew she needed her dad’s presence so she could let go.
God’s presence is what we need, too, in order to have the faith to follow Him whether it’s around the world, across the street, or in our own homes.
When we remember that God never leaves us nor forsakes us, that He stays with us and walks us through the hardest seasons and the toughest days as well as the everyday and the mundane, we can have the faith to follow Him anywhere.
Sometimes there are things holding us back.
Maybe we’re not sure we heard His voice correctly.
Or we’re afraid of what others will think.
Or perhaps what God is asking us to do doesn’t fit in with our perfectly good 5-year-plan.
That’s okay. Having Anywhere Faith means trusting God with the honest needs and struggles of our hearts. We don’t have to pretend to have it all together.
Instead, we tell Him the truth:
But we also tell Him this:
“I want to be where you are, God. I’ll follow you anywhere because anywhere with you is better than any place I’d go on my own.”
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3).