From the Desk of … “Stepping out in faith”
by Dave Hudson, Lt. Colonel
An excitement exists throughout the Western Territory that has not been felt in a long time—the reason, 92 cadets at the College for Officer Training. The significance of this is driven home by the memory of three years ago when there were fewer than 30. People are quick to give their reasons for the remarkable increase, from the working of God’s spirit to the depressed economy. I believe another reason explains the dramatic increase—a reason based on a spiritual principle.
Let’s go back about five years ago. Three or four consecutive sessions had held fewer than 20 cadets. Commissioner Philip Swyers, then territorial commander, comes into the territorial headquarters’ boardroom and states that God has told him 100 cadets would soon be at the college and they had to prepare for them. He went on to explain his plans to expand the college for the larger sessions of cadets that were on their way. The response from those in the room was less than enthusiastic. Well-intended people wondered why the territory would spend its resources to enlarge the college, especially when it was not even close to its capacity. Not to be deterred, however, Swyers was committed to seeing the improvements completed, and many of us attended the dedication a couple of years ago.
I am reminded of this spiritual principle: God expects us to listen to him, and when he speaks, to believe him and, in faith, make preparations for what he says will happen. This principle is found time and again throughout Scripture. In Genesis 6, God tells Noah, on a cloudless, sunny day, of an impending flood (v. 13); Noah believed God and, “did everything just as God commanded him” (v. 22).”
Years later, God told Joshua to “get ready,” because he was going to give his people the land that he had promised Moses (Joshua 1:2-3). Remember, these were the people that had been wandering aimlessly through the desert for 40 years. What was Joshua’s response? He told his officers to, “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own'” (v. 11).
Shortly after entering into the Promised Land, Joshua faces the challenge of a heavily fortified Jericho. God tells Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands (Joshua 6:2). God then tells him to march around the city for seven days with, get this, a group of musical priests. Can you imagine the looks Joshua received when he told his military leaders of this plan? However, you know the results—on the seventh day, “the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in and they took the city” (v. 20).
Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” God has and always will be doing new things. What he needs from us is not our brilliant and creative plans; he needs our obedience and willingness to believe him at his word; he wants us to take the land he has promised. However, so often in our busyness we do not perceive what he is saying. Or, in our conservative nature, we feel we must plan for every detail and contingency that could happen; all the while, God is saying, “trust me, step out in faith and watch me do my thing.”
I thank God that Commissioner Swyers believed God and stepped out in obedient faith—a step that led to this week, when 46 cadets of the Friends of Christ Session entered the college—and we celebrate and rejoice. I believe God is pleased and says to us, “You think that is something, just watch and obey, this is only the beginning.”