I hope you were able to BE Listeners of the Word in fresh ways throughout the past week. As we come to this week’s devotional in Heartbreakingly Beautiful, we weave a few threads together and get practical about our faith – like Beth had to do! All the faith-based listening in the world will get us nowhere unless we put what we hear into practice! The words of Jesus are to be obeyed and acted upon. Our faith in Him has to be activated and exercised! Listen to some words of advice from James, the brother of Jesus…
“But be doers of the Word (obey the message), and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves (into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth). For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his (own) natural face in a mirror; for he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. But he who looks carefully into the faultless law of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer (who obeys), he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience)”. James 1 22-24 AMP Bible
Have you ever heard the expression: “This is where the rubber meets the road”? This common English idiom expresses the ‘moment of truth’ idea. It’s the moment when the tires are tested on the road to see if they will really do what they are designed to do. The moment when the athlete takes to the track to discover whether her running shoes are made of the right stuff and whether all the preparation is going to pay off!
In a spiritual sense, our family has faced many of these ‘rubber’ moments – I am sure you have too. Times when faith in Jesus has been tested to see how authentic and strong it really is! When we served in Papua New Guinea, we faced many physical trials that were difficult to bear. But as we listened to Jesus and put His words into action, our’ faith muscles’ were stretched and grew stronger. We look back now at some of the stress that the Lord allowed to come into our lives as opportunities that led to spiritual growth. All the exercise and stretching of our faith back then certainly helped to prepare us for when the biggest ‘rubber’ moment hit with Beth’s trial.
The rubber sure hit the road for Beth and her faith was tested like we could never imagine. Her remarkable story clearly testifies that she activated all that Jesus had previously taught her and exercised what He continued to teach her daily throughout the trial. She too looked back and saw some of the hard times He allowed her to go through as preparations for a bigger test to come. We all believe that without such preparation, we would have snapped when the rubber hit – just like weak muscles and tendons do when suddenly strained.
Through this time, David and I were often a little slower off the mark when it came to faith activation. Many times during the journey we both felt anxious about our girl and had to exercise our faith in ways we never had to before. Here is an excerpt from David’s email message sent to our prayer supporters during this time…
“Lyn and I have been feeling very flat at the moment. It has been hard digesting the results from the latest MRI and knowing what to do with them. It is interesting to me that our devotion, even before we saw the results which were very mixed, was Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything…” It is hard not to be anxious and yet I know that when I don’t trust God and let myself go down that path it only adds to the struggles. Beth talks a lot about abiding and snuggling in His arms. I thank God for her faith and courage, even though it fills my eyes with tears watching her struggle physically…”
How do you need to exercise your faith right now and Be Doers of the Word, not just hearers? For me today, right in this moment, my faith challenge again relates to the area of being anxious about the future. Time to get down on my knees and bring all my prayer and petitions before the Glorious One as He has told me to do. With His help, it is time for me to put my faith in action again and actually DO what Jesus is whispering into my heart! Another ‘moment of truth’. Yet another opportunity to stretch and grow those faith muscles as I press on to win the Prize!
Songs to encourage you:
That’s What Faith Can Do by Kutless
Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns
A book to build you up:
Eric Liddell: Pure Gold: A New Biography of the Olympic Champion Who Inspired Chariots of Fire by David McCasland
The story of Eric Liddell is one of my personal favorites and I invite you to check out the remarkable next chapter of his life from an Olympian to a missionary in China. Eric passed away from a brain tumor like Beth – he is one of her kindred spirits.
A Movie to Encourage You:
Chariots of Fire is a wonderful movie that has been inspiring people for decades. (Just the famous music makes me want to keep running!)