Thursday, February 15, 2007

Faith and The Life of the Writer, continued...

The last time I wrote a piece for this blog, I was hanging by my nails from a cliff. You who read the story know I’d spent weeks preparing to attend CBA Advance, a Christian booksellers conference in the states. I was scheduled to get up at three am on a Monday morning and start driving to Indianapolis. I would arrive in the early afternoon and have time to set up a display for a show that opened on Tuesday. Late on Friday afternoon before I was to leave I was congratulating myself on having everything done early, but as I drove down the street, the brake lines on my 4-Runner disintegrated. I coasted into the nearest shop and was told the repair would take four to six hours and would cost $1,500. Worse, it couldn’t be done until Monday. Leaving late Monday was not an option. It’s a ten hour drive and I had to be there in time to set up my display before they closed the exhibit hall for the night.

I shamefully admit my reaction to trials is generally panic, not praise. “Lord, why are you letting this happen?” I whined. It took a while to acknowledge that Father always knows best. Had my brakes gone out while I was on the road it would have been much worse—I visualized being towed to a truckstop in boonytown with a maniacal wrench-wielding mechanic telling me he’d ordered the parts but they wouldn’t arrive for a week. I hastily recanted, asked forgiveness for my attitude, and then solicited help from The Word Guild’s prayer team. In faith I sat down and wrote a blog professing I would be at the show without a clue of how I was going to get there. The result was that the repairman, who’d told me on three separate occasions the work could not be done on Saturday, because he was already booked solid, ended up squeezing me in and then stayed two and a half hours past his normal closing to get the job done. I was back on schedule. Oh, and did I mention, it only cost $400.

The point is, in spite on my initial reaction, I did ultimately have faith. I simply could not believe that God, who had just done a series of miracles to prepare me for this show, would not let me attend. I said, “I don’t know how you’re going to do it Lord, but you have to get me there”—and He did.

So what is this thing called, “Faith?” According to the Bible. it’s believing what we cannot see. We know without faith it’s impossible to please God. We know with enough faith we can move mountains, that if we ask believing, we will receive (unless we’re asking for something to satisfy our lust, which, of course, makes our request null and void), and on, and on, and on... Yet, if you’re like me, all too often we say, “I have faith to believe, but I have to be practical. I’ll keep my options open, just in case.”

Excuse me, but that’s not faith. As Ron Hembree, a pastor friend of mine, is fond of saying, “faith is spelled R...I...S...K!” Oh, so true. Faith with an opt-out clause is like Abraham believing God would give him a son, but substituting Hagar because he felt Sarah was too old; or Aaron believing God was big enough to bring the clan through the Red Sea but, when left alone for a few days, deciding that having a golden calf would be nice just in case; or Ananias and Sapphira holding onto some of their cash because they weren’t absolutely sure God would meet their every need. Every one of these, “I believe—but,” examples of faith ended in disaster.

Believing God doesn’t always mean instant success. David could have killed his enemy, Saul, but instead chose to run for his life and hide in caves because he believed God would make him king when the time was right. Joseph, who was promised preeminence over his brothers, was sold into slavery and wound up in jail, but ultimately saw how God meant it for good. Sometimes we have to wade through perilous trials before we see the fulfillment of the promise. More often than not, there are years of struggle.

The question is, are we ready to lay it all on the line believing, in spite of our present circumstances, that God will one day, and in His way, accomplish His purpose? I hope so. I’m tired of saying, “I believe you, Lord, but...” James said we have to believe without wavering, for if we waver we receive nothing. Lord, give me the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego so I can say, “My God is able to deliver me, but even if He doesn’t, I will not bow down.” Let me be like Job and shout, “Yea though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” I want to know when I stand before God I’ll hear, “Well done thou good and ‘faithful’ servant,” not, “Oh, ye of little faith. I had such great plans for you—if only you hadn’t given up.”


Eric E. Wright said...

Thanks Keith for this timely reminder about the role of faith in the today world. I was encouraged today to trust God for a very murky, unseen writing future. Eric Wright

Eric E. Wright said...

Thanks Keith for this timely reminder about the role of faith in the today world. I was encouraged today to trust God for a very murky, unseen writing future. Eric Wright

Belinda said...

Hi Keith--I loved reading the end of the cliffhanger!

Writing the first article was brave and the faith was already there because you dared to put God out there. In that instant, I believe it was DONE!

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