Living By Faith

Posted: December 14, 2019 in Meditations
silhouette of person standing near camping tent

Photo by Cliford Mervil on Pexels.com

 

Fred Rogers, the children’s television host, struggled to assemble a tent during a shoot. Try as he might, Mr. Rogers failed to put the tent together. He finally gasped, “I can’t do it. I need another person to help me.” His television director offered to rig the tent to easily snap into position. Fred said, “No, I like the scene just the way it happened.” When asked why, Fred Rogers replied, “Children need to know real life isn’t what we expect. Sometimes we fail; sometimes we need help.” Life is unpredictable, a mixed bag of success and failure, calm and crisis, joy and sorrow. We never figure it out. So how do we cope? How do we roll with the surprises life inevitably confronts us with?

Acts 12 is a gift to us. The Bible never sugarcoats life. God does not want to blindside us with a false sense of security. He challenges us to live our lives on principle rather than emotion. If we quit our jobs on our worst day, how many of us could hold down a job? “The just shall live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4  We trust God in life. We do not trust ourselves to wind our way through circumstance. At least that is the way life should work. Too often we forget, we panic, we lose our way. Jesus warned us, “You will be hated, scorned, and some of you will die because of me.” Acts 12 is a terrifying tale of circumstance, principled trust, and glorious deliverance.

James the Apostle is dead, executed by sword to the delight of the Jews in Jerusalem. Peter, under guard in prison, awaits his execution. “The church was earnestly praying to God for him.” Acts 12:5  Don’t forget, they just lost James – by all accounts, a devastating loss to the church. Their prayers added up to a big fat zero in the answered-prayer column. God must have seemed far away in that moment. Did they doubt? You bet they did. Peter? No one is more surprised than Peter when he finds himself alone on a darkened street, a free man. Fear, doubt, and everything in between tortured their minds as it does ours. Despite pounding hearts, they lived by faith, they acted on principle. They knew one basic truth, Christ is all that matters” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.” Acts 12:16  Have you been surprised when God answered prayer? We all have. Have you been disappointed or worse when God didn’t intervene in circumstance? Again, we’ve all been there. Let’s be honest, much of life is a mystery. And that won’t change this side of heaven. We eventually find out the “who” is much more important than the “why”.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, born of woman, crucified, risen, now seated at the right hand of God the Father: that is our truth. Created by and for God: that is our reality. So, brother and sister, stand tall and live life with purposed ferocity. We cannot assemble the tent of a well-lived life alone. No matter how we try, we fail. Disappointment, fear, and the unknown thwart us. God is our advocate, the Holy Spirit is our senior partner. Together we snap that tent into place and anchor it stake by stake into the living principled word of God. Be bold, trust God. In the end, Christ is all that matters.

 

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