Having to live what you preach can be a real challenge. It’s kind of like, what do faith healers do when they get sick? How can a faith healer die, I mean, can’t they touch themselves on the head and fall over, and “Be Healed!?” Now, I know that Jesus was mocked similarly, and He didn’t save Himself. But Jesus never made claims about Himself that He couldn’t back up, and His purpose was ultimately to do what they mocked Him for. My point is, that as a mere human, and one who has sought to inspire others with Truth and insight and faith, I find myself now in the need of the very things that I have preached about over the years.A big issue for me throughout my life has been the will of God. How do we know it? And if we do, how do we follow it? Does God speak? Only sporadically? And if you hear His voice, and you always do what He says, will it always go well with you (ask any martyr throughout the ages!).
Many years ago the Experiencing God study came into my life, and it was pivotal in giving me a confident voice in what is the will of God, in discerning it, and accomplishing it. And curiously, one of the biggest lessons of Experiencing God was not in the book, but was for me the recollection of the dream of a missionary told me when I was a kid. That lesson has been the most influential, and now the most helpful, as I find myself in very different circumstances in my own life.
Many of you have heard this story. I will make it brief. Mr. Huffman (that was the missionary’s name) dreamt that he was at the camp that my Dad ran for most of my life in Costa Rica. I had grown up delighting in running down this huge hill (think the side of a Mt. Trashmore), down to a raging creek with big boulders breaking the flow of the rushing water. Crossing that river decreased in scariness as I got older, but it was always a challenge. (Today so many farmers siphon off water that it hardly flows anymore). Mr. Huffman said it was late at night, and fog covered the river in his dream. I could see it! He said as he walked along the shoreline, God told him to step into the river. God pointed exactly where. To step out into that river, in the dark, in the fog, was very vivid for this 13 year old listener. Would he do it? Would he trust God enough to step out, in blind faith, and plant his foot into the middle of the river?
That’s what walking by faith is. Stepping out at God’s direction into what is otherwise unknown, and potentially dangerous. Do you trust Him? Or not?
In trying to answer the question “how are you doing Craig?” (a question I get a lot these days – I don’t mind), I found myself - because I really don’t feel sick, or act sick, they just tell me I’m sick - standing in the middle of that river, covered with the fog of uncertainty, standing with dry feet on the last rocks that God has pointed me to. Am I OK? Yeah. Safe and secure. I’m doing fine, really.
But the waters are still raging. And you know, I used to apply this almost cursorily to others. The river, I interpreted, is illness, financial problems, broken relationships, struggles with kids, worries of all kinds. It’s just that now, with a worry of my own called cancer, I find that the preacher is both challenged and comforted by the same message. It’s where I am, and it’s OK.