Opportunity. What is it, really? What does it actually look like? How can we learn to recognize it?
These are the questions I began to ask myself after our interview with Miche Traina. He was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and could have easily chosen not to take it. After all, it was risky, and he didn’t know what it looked like on the other side of that chance, but he took it. It has made all the difference in his life and is a huge attribute to the legacy that he is building.
I think we often times ask God to show us the way to go, to lay it all before us so we know what it looks like and can assess the risks involved. We would love for it to be clean and precise. His response is to offer us something different: a door. Instead of just giving us what we are asking for, what we think we need or want, He offers us an opportunity. He offers us a chance to take a step of faith.
Why? Why not just give us what we are asking?
You see, opportunity requires a response of some kind. A response involves action. Action in the face of uncertainty causes growth. Growth transforms us into the person who can properly handle what we are asking God for. In order to receive what is on the other side of opportunity, we have to first make the choice to take it. You can’t see through a door. The only way to know what lies on the other side is to open it. It may be risky and uncertain, but it holds the “answer” that we are looking for, even if it might look different than we thought. (And it usually does.)
Let’s shift our vision from looking for the answer, and start looking for the opportunities that God is giving us. The “answer” is on the other side. Think of it like this: Imagine you are in financial difficulty. You are having trouble just paying the bills and can’t seem to make any headway toward prosperity. So you pray and ask God for the answer. “God, I really need $1,000. Please provide.” It would be so great if someone would just walk up to you and say, “Here’s $1,000. God told me to give it to you.” That can and does happen sometimes, but it might also look like someone walking up to you and saying, “I need someone to mow my lawn for me every month. I’ll pay $100 each time.” $100 is not $1,000, but $100 over 10 months is. Is it still an answer to prayer? Yes, but you also will get better at mowing lawns and will have gotten extra exercise. Even if that seems trivial, it’s true that the answer to that prayer resulted in growth of some kind.
Now, that might seem like a shallow example, but apply the thinking to something deeper:
Maybe you’ve asked God the great question, the one we’ve all asked at some point. “Why am I here, God? What is your plan for my life?” Rather than give you a one liner answer, God will give you desire, and then a door. God will often provide us with something that requires us taking a chance and stepping into unknown territory. And you know what? It’s for our own good, and it’s how we learn who we are.
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” – James 2:17
We can have all the faith in the world and believe with no doubts for something, but if we take no action, it’s pointless. Faith requires a step of some kind…forward movement. Faith is a fascinating thing. For the sake of brevity I will just say that faith is the belief that whatever lies in the unknown is worth it, is worth hoping for and going after. When we have faith, we are, in a sense, “creating” that which we are hoping for. It might look like a seed at first, but it will begin to grow into maturity when action is taken. For Miche, faith meant driving halfway across the country on a spur-of-the-moment opportunity that he very easily could have missed. It was super risky and happened at a time in his life when conventional wisdom would have told him to stay put and go to college, do the “smart” thing. He knew he had to do it, though. It was an opportunity that may have never come along again. Frankly, it’s no surprise that Miche is now a sought-after expert on growth.
Start looking for the opportunities, the doors that God is placing all around you. Yes, they may be risky and scary and uncertain, but trust me, God is waiting for you on the other side.