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Friday, October 05, 2007

As a pastor, I often get told that this "faith thing" can be kind of hard. And for lots of different reasons. I fully realize that. I have those same feelings from time to time. For instance, when God tells me to trust Him for something, some provision. I fully want to believe Him. I do...I think. Then I start questioning what my role is to be in the process. If God is providing, do I sit back and watch or is there some effort He would require as my part in the journey?

I bet some of you have been there (are there) too, learning to walk that fine line between complete faith in God and complete trust in yourself.

I am learning from Scripture that there is NEVER a time where God says that He will do all the work, we should just sit back and relax.

God opened the Red Sea but the Hebrew people still had to walk through it.
God told Noah it would rain; he still had to build the boat.
God told David that He would deliver him from Goliath; David still had to find the rock, place it in the sling and take down the giant.
God brought food to the wandering Hebrews; they still had to collect it.
He provided the world a Savior. We still must put our faith into following Him.

So, what does that mean in practical terms? I don't have giants to slay or arks to build or seas to cross. But I do have a family to provide for, kids to raise, a wife to love and a church to grow. God has told me clearly that He will provide in all these instances. There is, however, a part I must play. The trick is learning to do my part without taking His part out of His hands.

Here's the key: intimacy. That's right. Communication. My wife and I don't get along without it. My kids fight me all day long without it. My church falls into chaos without it. And God...He desires it. He wants to hear from me every day and, in learning His voice, I learn my part. I know what it is He is seeking. I know what it is that I should be doing. Through knowing His voice, this "faith thing" becomes easier.

5 comments:

Julia Moore said...

Striking a balance is key- and I think you have explained this very well!

Something that has come up in my own life these last couple of days is the comment "God helps those who help themselves." And while I believe there is an element of truth to that statement- I believe the very nature of this statement encourages self reliance rather than God reliance. Any half truth is a whole lie! Balance is essential. I think of the apostles-- When Christ commanded them to go forth- He told them to do so without an extra tunic, money or other supplies. Their part was to just GO-- and it wasn't even to a specific place even! Their part was to go-- And God would provide along the way! It is an incredible faith journey that God calls us to-
Thanks for sharing this message today- It has really blessed my heart...
and PS- I really enjoyed yesterday's blog -- Lisa's comments were full of hope and encouragement-
Thank you for sharing...

Jennifer said...

Five days posting in a row!!! I enjoy having these to read during MC's naps. I like today's post and feel the same way...so, you must be right...ha ha...just kidding=)Seriously though, today's post was well thought and communicated. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ridley, I just read about you in Home Life magazine. I am thinking the article is the answer to a recent prayer. I am a family counselor and have worked closely this summer with two different people experiencing profound grief and loss. The first was a very good friend of mine who was killed suddenly in a car wreck. She and her husband had been married 20 years and I have walked through his grief with him daily. The other is a 16 year old girl who was driving the car in which her boyfriend was killed. I have struggled with helping her to understand something that I can't understand. I will be reading the books you suggest but I think some of your comments will be especially appealing to her. Thank you for sharing your pain so that others might learn to move forward in a positive way.

Mr & Mrs said...

Ridley. . .
Am now living in Georgia--Athens, to be exact, where my husband (whom I married on July 14 this year--what a day, huh?) is now serving on staff in a local church. Boy oh boy . . . do people love the dogs!! And to think that our beloved Tennessee is stompin' them right now!

You don't know me from Adam, but I'm a fellow lover of Tennessee. . . a fellow believer. . . and, of course, just read your awesome story.

Thanks for your transparency, not only in the Home Life article, but in your everyday blogs. There is so much we can learn from fellow believers.

All that to say thanks for being vulnerable, open and honest.

Our Lord gives and takes away; blessed be His name! may that be said of from us all. We'll be keeping you and your family in our prayers.

See you in the New Jerusalem

Anonymous said...

Ridley,
I walked into my Sunday School Room today and saw you on the cover of Homelife magazine. I have never met you or your family personally, but I have met them. I work for the Georgia State Patrol's Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team in Valdosta, Georgia. Our team was responsible for the investigation of your family's tragic accident. I probably have one of the most horrible jobs in the world because I see so much death and destruction. I can only get my strenght from God above as I do my job each and every day. I know that this is what God has called me to do because I can share my experiences with others. I share my faith in God with other famlies that have been involved in tragic accidents as yours. Once our team started working on your case I prayed daily for your family as I do for each and every case I prepare. My most tragic case was when 5 kids were killed in Ambrose on a 4-wheeler by a drunk driver in 2003. I still struggle with this case because the jury found the drunk driver not guilty. I attend the memorial service every year at the crash site. It's like you said in your article that you wanted to see some life change because of this tragic act. God used that tragic crash in 2003 to reach so many lost people. Nearly 30 people have accepted Christ from the deaths of those 5 kids. The Lord our God works in mysterious ways. Well I just wanted to let you know that I still pray for your family and I would really appericate it if you could share your story of faith at Plains Baptist Churh in Plains, Georgia. I am the Men Mission Leader and I would love for you to be our guest speaker in February 2008. Thank You for your ministery. Your strenght and love for God shows others christians that no matter how hard it gets we shouls never give up on God because He has a plan for all of us.