Years ago, a British test pilot was flying a solo mission, when halfway through he discovered a rat on board with him who was chewing on his fuel line. He assessed the situation and realized that if the rat was successful in completely chewing through the line, he would definitely not have enough fuel to get to where he was going and may not even have enough to land. So instead of risking the landing, he decided to take the plane higher. Since there was no oxygen higher up, he was able to successfully kill the rat and save his plane.
Often, when we are facing persecution and trouble, we tend to go low, hide out, and wait for the storm to quietly pass us by. We rarely, if ever, face the storm head on and boldly proclaim victory in the face of it. Instead, our humanity kicks in and we become meek in the face of adversity, and when we are timid, we are not only doubting our own abilities, but we are also doubting God’s ability to work through us. When we feel the need to go low, God desires us to go high, as that’s where He can do His biggest works. By going high with boldness and declaring victory for Him, we open the floodgates for his miracles to be done through us, giving Him even more glory.
Scripture repeatedly shows that God desires to use us way beyond our capacity. Whether leading people out of Egypt despite speech issues, fathering a child while in the twilight of life, or facing down actual lions, individuals who were not fundamentally extraordinary were used for extraordinary achievements once they showed boldness. When people see our boldness, it gives God a stage to accomplish His work through that boldness. God wants us to achieve well beyond what people expect of us, work that we would never be able to do ourselves, because people then know that it couldn’t have possibly come through us: it must be from God. It’s as if boldness is the calling card and invocation for God’s angels and for His plan to work through us. When we go high, God takes us even higher.
Similarly, in Acts, after Christ’s ascension, the apostles Peter and John boldly preached to the crowds to the point that the leaders jailed them, threatening them to stop. After being released, Peter and John continued to do what got them in trouble in the first place, boldly preaching the gospel, but now with an even greater boldness. Together, they prayed: “‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (4.29-31). As they became bolder, God took that boldness and worked to end their persecution, taking them and their followers even higher. When we invoke boldness, God uses us beyond what we are capable of doing, all for His glory.
When we decide to go low in the face of adversity and land the plane instead of flying higher, we sometimes end up just saving the rat, allowing him to chew on the lines another day. We need to show boldness in the face of persecution and to go high, ending that oppression and cutting off the enemy. This week, when you are feeling as if the world is closing in on you, show a boldness in your faith that allows God to work miracles through you. When the world wants you to go low, go high instead. Amen.