Television at its best - which it all too seldom delivers - can take you to some fascinating places in the world that you might never see any other way. Like the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu, for example. The ruins of that ancient city, high up in the Andes Mountains of Peru, are remarkably well preserved, almost as if the city was just abandoned one night long ago.
A recent documentary showed burros making their way up this rugged, winding, perilous road to Machu Picchu, carrying the burdens of the humans who were leading them. You'd expect animals to be pretty skittish on a narrow trail and a deadly drop-off only feet away. Oh, but not those burros. No, they were remarkably calm the whole trip. Of course, there was a reason. They were blindfolded!
This documentary pointed out that the blindfold calmed the burros as they ascended their very dangerous road. They never realized the dangers that were all around them. They were just fine as long as they knew they were being led. You and I should be, too.
It may be that you've walked a pretty dangerous road lately, or that there's a road ahead that you're hesitant to climb because of the dangers on it: financial danger, physical danger, risking your security, the danger of losing someone that's important to you, the risks of venturing from the known to the unknown, or the potential dangers of a change in your life. To be honest, there are many times that we let the dangers decide whether or not we'll make a move. That's a bad idea. God's ancient people turned away from a Promised Land and wandered forty years in the wilderness because they let the dangers of Canaan decide what they were going to do.
No, the deciding factor shouldn't be how dangerous it looks, but rather that you are being led that direction by the Guide who has never lost anyone He was leading, no matter how steep the mountain. In Matthew 14, beginning with verse 28, we have a beautiful, flesh-and-blood example of how a follower of Jesus Christ ought to make every potentially dangerous decision. In the midst of a turbulent storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus has appeared to the disciples, literally walking on the water toward them and calling them not to be afraid.
The Bible says this: "'Lord, if it's You,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.' 'Come,' He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus." That is amazing! And Peter would have kept walking on the water all the way to Jesus except for the fact that, well, he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm. That sank him. But I love Peter's faith here. He didn't know how he would be supported where there was no visible means of support. He only needed to know one thing: "Lord, if it's You..."
That should be the bottom line for any of us; not the storm, not the risks, not all the fearful things that might happen, not our capabilities. Now, we're not burros. We're the sheep of the Great Shepherd, and you need have no fear of any place that He is leading you.
At times I've been hesitant to take a step that God was asking me to take because I perceived it to be what I called a "risky obedience." As it turns out, that's an oxymoron. There is only a risky disobedience. Not going where Jesus is leading is the greatest danger of all! I love the hymn that says, "I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burden down, Jesus led me all the way."
Remember, no matter how fearful the road may look, "Through many dangers, toils, and snares, you have already come. T'was grace that brought you safe thus far, and grace will lead you home."