The Hard Way Home

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which
point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

Deuteronomy 1:2 The Amplified Bible
It is [only] eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea [on Canaan’s border; yet Israel took forty years to get beyond it].

Have you ever allowed stubborness, murmuring and complaining to prevent you from receiving a blessing? Have you ever deliberately chosen the hardest path
simply because your pride would not allow you to submit to the directions, instructions, encouragement or guidance of another? Have you ever prayed to
God for something that you knew wouldn’t happen simply because you hoped God would change His mind and give you the foolish desires of your heart?
Have you ever lived in squalor, misery and defeat because accepting a hand out was easier than reaching for a hand up?

Have you ever said to yourself “I know he or she is right but I’m just not going to make an effort anymore?”
Have you ever just given up because expecting something more results in disapointment more times than not?

Well … if you’re human I would suppose the answer to these questions would be a loud and affirming “yes!”

Why then is this so?

It is so because we think the path of least resistance will indeed be the path of least resistance.
The truth is … it rarely ever is.

When the Israelites fled into the desert they began a journey that should have taken them 11 days.
But the murmuring, complaining, doubting, absence of faith caused them one trial after another.
They were fed morning and evening from the sky. They had a cloud to cool them by day and a fire to warm them by night. They had clothes that did not wear
out and yet the Israelites were a most skeptical people.
I call this the Eyeore mentality. Poor EyeOre! He never believed anything good would ever come to him. He was downcast, downtroden and downright disappointing
to all the optimist around him.
You ever been around people who are just negative Nancy’s all the time?
You ever been one yourself?
Of course we all have.

There’s a cure for that.
It involves hope and faith.
But not the kind of hope and faith we hear about in watered down church sermons or milk laced Sunday school classes.
We learn in these feel good, shallow teachings that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. This in and of itself
is not in error. It is how we apply this scripture passage that causes problems.
When someone gets sick with a terminal illness we speak as though our faith will move God to heal that person.
This may or may not happen but our claims of having great faith is not what will move God to act.
God will act according to His will and we need to know His will.
When we pray “if it be your will” what are we really saying? We’re saying we don’t know His will and this is in direct contradiction to bible teaching.
God intends for us to know His will in so much as it is revealed to us.
In some things His will is a mystery. In other areas His will is explicitly known. When things are meant to be a mystery, we are told that these things
are a mystery.
When teachings should be plain we are told “it is written as I have told you before.”

So … what about this faith thing?
There is no evidence that I will ever become an astronaut. If I pray hard enough will the substance of my prayer become reality? Will I become an astronaut?
Unlikely.
But when I feel down, discouraged, defeated, overwhelmed; when I get sick and it seems as though the entire world is against me, can God help?
Absolutely.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
No one has seen your smile in months; God can restore that.
No one has heard you laugh in days. God can open joy in your heart.
No one has seen you succeed in years. God can make you a champion.
Suffering brings perseverance, perseverance breeds character and character builds hope.
Hope then and believe.
Reach then and grab hold of a helping hand. Open your hearts. Receive and give love. It saved us from death and an eternal hel. Surely it’s enough to get
us through some of the tougher times we face.

Romans 5:1-5 NIV
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith
into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know
that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

October 10 at 5:51 PM

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