As someone who works in college ministry, I'm asked a lot of questions about faith. It's often questions of apologetics or doctrine or theology. This time, I received a question that I'd never received before in almost 20 years of campus ministry. "Why do you think I haven't become a Christian yet?" It's certainly something I've asked of others, even if just in my head. I think that's something we often ask when we see a person being so close to accepting salvation thru Christ, especially when they have been so close for so long. It's a good question but one where there often isn't an easy answer.
I think becoming a Christian can a lot of times be like my first time jumping Baker’s Bridge. Here in Durango, jumping Baker's is a pastime. It's a right of passage. Depending on water levels, it's about a 35-40 foot tall bridge. A river passes between a granite canyon below.
The legality of jumping it is certainly questionable. The local paper has stated that it's illegal. Elsewhere, I've heard that jumping off of it is legal but getting out of the river after jumping is trespassing and therefore illegal. But then again, I've been up there while cops were there admiring the adventure taking place. No one was arrested or ticketed. We were just told to be safe. If it is illegal, maybe it's only illegal to protect against lawsuits. Legal or not, it's not uncommon to find a group of 20 or so young people hanging out on a summer afternoon jumping it or swinging off of it on a rope swing.
Early in my college days, I went with friends my first time and watched them all jump. I saw the fun and amazing time they all had. I had all the intention of jumping but the first time I stepped up to the edge, I just couldn't. I basically stood at the edge looking at the water for 45 minutes. Fear was holding me back. At times, I’d step away for just a moment trying to pump myself up. I’d then step back to the edge and freeze again. Thankfully, my friends were very encouraging and patient with me. Finally after that 45 minutes, I realized that I just had to jump. I wasn’t going to let fear rob me of something great. All I had to do was step off and let gravity do the rest.
With Christianity, there are a lot of fears that may enter a mind before making the jump. Many stand at the very edge looking down for what seems like forever. Some finally jump. Some never do. It seems fear is holding the back. The fear of what others will think. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of "If I do this, my life is going to have to change." In other countries, it may even be the fear of losing your life. There are many more fears that people have, I’m sure. If you are going to ask, "Why haven't I become a Christian yet?" Then I'm going to ask, "What are your fears?" I think in the end, you just have to take the plunge. You can’t let fear rob you of something great. We make it out sometimes to be so complicated. But it's not. All you have to do is step off and let Jesus do the rest.