Before him stood two paths: One that stretched into the far distance, while the other seemed a lot more manageable. Yet due to the fog that was all around, he couldn’t make out where each of them led to.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that he’d been given to scale the highest mountain there was. Though, if he were to be entirely honest, he wanted to reach his goal sooner rather than later.

So he thought to himself, I might be able to see clearer once I reach higher ground.

Thus, he set out on the latter path. But after trudging uphill for some time, he realised that he still couldn’t make out what was ahead of him.

At this rate, I’ll never be able to see what’s ahead.

Just then, he felt a gentle nudging to turn back the way he came and to embark on that other path instead. Nonetheless, he shrugged it off.

It probably isn’t worth the risk, he reasoned.

Besides, this path has been challenging enough already, it must lead to the highest mountain there is.

And so he continued his ascent. After many gruelling days of scaling steep slopes in the freezing cold, the summit was at last within his reach.

This is it! All that hard work is finally going to pay off!

So as he pulled himself over the ledge, he readied himself to give his loudest shout of joy.

Only, he couldn’t.

There in the distance was another mountain that towered far above him. And such was its height that he could barely make out its peak! But by then it was too late to turn back the way he came – he no longer had the food supply or the energy left to do so. No doubt it was a great feat that he’d accomplished, yet he couldn’t bring himself to celebrate.

For he hadn’t made the best out of his one chance.

I was on my way to scale my mountain.

Put on the graduate program of one of the most prestigious firms in the world, I had every intention of making my mark before entering full-time ministry. God had granted me favour in the work of my hands and with those I worked with; I had wonderful bosses and colleagues, the culture of the firm was amazing; I was earning a good salary and even the work location was ideal – I had everything that I could have possibly asked for and more!

Except when tragedy struck.

He was one of my closest friends back in the army.

We ran together, went to the gym together and we often competed with each other during our physical fitness test. Outside of camp, we would go for workouts and we also took part in a marathon together. Even after we left the Army, we still kept in touch every now and then.

It was like any other year that I wished him for his 25th birthday on his Facebook profile last October.

But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

Another friend from the same camp saw my message and broke the news to me: My friend had died in a car accident two days ago.

My gym buddy, my running companion. My cherished friend.

And I wasn’t even there for his funeral the previous day.

I was absolutely distraught.

The news took a long while to sink in and I soon found myself in tears. And then a memory came to mind – I had invited him to Church a while ago, to which he replied, “I’m not even attending prayers at the temple and you’re inviting me to Church?”

Why didn’t I insist? Why didn’t I ask again?

Yet it’d happened during the peak season at my workplace when I was averaging 12-hour days, such that I had hardly any capacity left to grieve over him properly. And it was a time that I couldn’t afford to take my mind off work either.

But scarcely had I gotten over my friend’s passing when tragedy struck once again.

Just three weeks later, I received news that a former Bible School classmate of mine had succumbed to colon cancer. He was still doing fine the last we’d checked in on him, but here I was having to grieve over yet another loss.

The brevity of life rarely finds those who are expecting it.

But when it does eventually catch up with us, will we look back and say that we’ve truly lived a life that counts for eternity?
Have we made the most out of the opportunities that we’ve had? Did we make full use of the gifts that God has given us? Have we spent our time, our energy and our resources the best way we knew how?

“Five minutes inside eternity and I believe every one of us will wish that we’d sacrificed more, prayed more, loved more, sweated more, grieved more, wept more!”
Leonard Ravenhill

“If you had only one month left to live, you’d be surprised at all the things that really didn’t matter anymore… Is life any less precious because we don’t know how much of it we have left?”
Wayne Cordeiro, Leading on Empty

So if you already know what you should be doing, don’t wait until you feel like doing it before you act on it! His grace will hold you up as you step out in faith and even if you do make an honest mistake, He will help you get right back on track. Here is a lengthy but meaningful quote from A.W. Tozer in his book, Dangers of a Shallow Faith.

“Do not hold yourself back until you feel ready to do something. Start doing something now that you have wanted to do but put off. Learn to ride a bicycle by trial and error. Do not wait until you have learned to ride it before you buy one; get one now and practice on it. Get something done. You may make mistakes at first, of course, but do something … Christians are like farm implements. Farm machinery seldom wears out. If you keep your machinery up, you can use it summer in and summer out until it becomes obsolete. The idle machine sitting in the dampness will go to piece in one season, but that same machine used for 10 years will only make it shine. One year of sitting around sulking will do more to rust your soul than 100 years of hard work if God granted you that many years.

Do not fear wearing yourself out. The devil is a master of strategy, and when a child of God gets busy, he whispers in the ear, “Watch it, because you’re going to have a nervous breakdown.” I am positively sure that nervous breakdowns do not come from working in the easy yoke of Jesus Christ. They come from frustrations, hidden sins, stubbornness, refusing to hear God and wanting your own way; but they do not come from working.”

The brevity of life stopped me right in my tracks when I lost my two friends. It made me realise that I had a lot more I wanted to accomplish for God, and yet here I was giving my best years to a firm, the strength of my youth that will someday leave me. And due to the demands of work, I had to put my writing on hold and I was spending most of my free time recuperating for the following day’s work.

It was during that season that I was seeking the Lord one night when an unmistakable still, small voice spoke: “School of Leadership.”

It was such an incredulous thought! Yet it brought me such joy, though not without fear.

Back to Bible School? I would love to, but I’ve only just started my career! How will I provide for my family in the future? What will others think? And can I really bring myself to let my team down?

He didn’t say when exactly, but after a series of confirmations, I was settled. As high a mountain I was climbing, I knew it wasn’t the highest that God had for me to conquer.

I had a lot more I wanted to accomplish for God, and yet here I was giving my best years to a firm, the strength of my youth that will someday leave me.

So after six long months of unceasing prayer, of seeking counsel and many sleepless nights, I finally took the leap of faith.
To my surprise, the people I was afraid of disappointing turned out to be my greatest supporters! Even in the times when I doubted myself, they made me believe in the decision that I felt God had called me to make. Without the graciousness and blessings of my colleagues, my parents and mentors alike, I would not have had the courage that I needed to resign from my job.

It’s when we take the risk and step out in faith that the Lord will grant His accompanying grace.

You may have only just started, or you could be halfway up your climb already; but if you’ve always felt that God has other plans for your life, know that He will help you to make the right decision. Spend the time in prayer, in seeking His face and the counsel of the godly, and He will guide your steps. It’s certainly by no means easy to take the leap of faith, but know that His grace will be there to catch you.

He will never disappoint, and He will never fail you.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

(Deuteronomy 31:8)

If we have everything we need in life, we will never experience the providence of God. If we will not venture out to reach the unsaved, we will never experience the signs, miracles and wonders that followed the apostles. And if we won’t leave the safety of our comfort zone, we will never experience the abundant life that God intends for us!

The last thing we’d want is to miss out on the greatest adventure throughout all of eternity, only to realise it when we get to Heaven!

The Lord may forgive us for not stepping out in faith, but we will never be able to turn back the clock.

 “The Lord will forgive you, but the clock won’t!”
Leonard Ravenhill

It may be that God wants you to stay right where you are, or it could be that He’s called you to step out. But whichever it is, be sure that it is the path that God has called you to walk in!

“Calling should not be sudden impulse unattended by anxious consideration. It should be the outgrowth of our heart in its best moments, the object of our reverent aspirations, the subject of our most fervent prayers. It must continue with us when tempting offers wealth and comfort come into conflict with it, and remain as a calm, clear-headed resolve after everything has been estimated at its right figure and the cost thoroughly counted.”
Charles Spurgeon

This is an excerpt from the book What Heaven Does Not Have and is republished with permission. To purchase the book, click here.