Beyond The Threshold
Every story has that moment. The moment when the main character has to decide whether to stay in their normal, comfortable daily life, or to go into some unknown or uncomfortable place. Whether it’s to go a literal other location or just a shift in attitude or dress, a change to their daily routine arrives.
The reasons are different. It could be because some person, either friend or foe, is calling them to make this change. Or it could be out of necessity that the change must occur, like if their hometown gets burned down. But in a story, a moment will come when the main character must choose whether to stay or go. This point is the threshold moment.
Often this moment is difficult and scary for the protagonist because the change that is to come is usually outside of their strengths. What lay beyond the threshold is not something that the protagonist is currently capable of. Taking out an evil empire, reestablishing an ancient order, or saving the world from the plans of an evil madman are all impossible tasks set before protagonists.
There’s no way in the world that they would be able to do those things the moment they step beyond the threshold. They must go through various trials and tests to accomplish their task. And often they must discover a power beyond themselves to accomplish it. Be that a deity, a mystical force, or even the strength that comes from friendship and love. It is beyond their individual scope to accomplish the task set before them.
Yet, when we live our lives as followers of Jesus, we tend to shy away from these threshold moments. We seek comfortability and homeostasis. Why? Why do we turn from the task that God is calling us to? I think it has to do with the fact that we see the task before us and forget that it’s supposed to be beyond our own abilities.
Knowing our own capabilities, we look beyond the threshold and judge that it’s too difficult. But we forget that it’s supposed to be. God won’t call us to a task that we are able to do in our own abilities. If we could perform the task with our current abilities, if we were able in our own selves, what would be the point in asking us to do it?
When God calls us to a task it is to strengthen our faith, give glory to him, and build up our fellow followers of Jesus, who will join us in praising God for what he has done through us. Asking us to perform a task that is already in our capabilities short-circuits the point in giving us a mission. We get the glory when it's finished because it was in our own strength.
God can easily be forgotten because his strength was not used, or needed. And others begin to judge themselves in relation to us, thinking that they don't have the capabilities that we do and begin to either feel themselves to be useless or to envy the capabilities we have.
We want things to be nice and easy. We want a family that never fights. We want a job that's secure and pays us enough to let us live comfortably. We want a home and a car that never need repairs. We want bodies that don’t fail. But how will we grow, if we’re never asked to experience something difficult? How will we gain new level of faith if we never live beyond our strength? How will we learn to rely on God in all things, if we have nothing driving us to our knees?
The threshold isn’t a place to be fearful or self-reliant. It’s where the prayers of the faithful rise to God like incense wafting in a pleasant-smelling aroma. It’s an altar to bow before. It’s a place of worship.
When we depend fully on God, the task he’s calling us to can be accomplished. The heroic task complete. And we share in the victory with God who empowered us. Then, others around us can see that it’s not because of our own abilities, but God’s power that it was accomplished. We enable others to see that if God can use us in our weakness, he can use them in their weaknesses.
What is God currently calling you to? What difficult or impossible task lay beyond the threshold? Let us fall to our knees, pray for God’s strength, move forward in it, and give him the glory. Let’s become the heroes God calls us to be and knows he can make us.