When I was a little boy growing up, our next door neighbors had a big German shepherd dog in their backyard. Even though their yard was fenced off, they always kept the dog on a leash. One day when I was about nine years old, I was playing baseball in the backyard with some friends, and the ball went over into the neighbor's yard. I didn't think much about it. I had been over there many times. I got my ladder and climbed over our six-foot fence.
When I got to the ball, the dog was about 50 yards away. When he saw me, he took off running toward me at 90 miles an hour, and for some reason, he wasn't on his leash that day! My heart sunk. I knew I was as good as dead. I turned around and took off running toward our fence as fast as I could. The whole time under my breath, I was saying, "Lord, forgive me of my sins. I'm about to come meet You!"
When I got to the fence, all in one motion, I grabbed it with one hand, jumped as high as I could, and somehow got over that fence right before the dog got to me! I was just a little boy and had practically cleared a six-foot fence! That dog helped me to discover potential that I didn't know I had. That dog helped me to find some hidden treasure. I had never jumped that high before, and the truth is, I have never jumped that high since.
You don't really know what's on the inside until you place a demand on your potential. Sometimes adversities and challenges are what help us grow the most. As we begin the new year, don't shy away from things that seem difficult. Let this be the year to rise to new levels. Let this be the year to discover new talents, new abilities you never thought possible. Let this be the year to rise up in boldness and embrace every opportunity the Lord has prepared for you!
"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." (Proverbs 4:18, NIV)