Be Prepared Through Constant Practice

Bob_Anton_Narrow_RoadTrue story:  When he got the call, he rushed home as quickly as he could.  His 2 year old had been found at the bottom of the swimming pool.  How it happened and who was at fault is irrelevant.  By God’s grace the child was found quickly and the paramedics were able to resuscitate the boy thereby saving his life.  He was transported to the hospital and the prognosis was that he would make a full recovery.  The father praised God for His goodness in sparing his son’s life.  He glorified God over and over repeating the praises to everyone who would listen.  The next day during his morning prayers he thanked God once again for the mercy shown to his family.  He praised God for His grace and goodness.  In the quiet moments that followed, he thought he heard a voice.  Yes, in his heart he did, it was the voice of God; “Would you be praising me if I had allowed him to die?” “Would I still be good in your sight?”

That is a legitimate question, particularly when faced with such a potentially great tragedy.  For those who believe in a good God, it is easy to trust Him as long as everything is going well.  But when things go wrong, as they eventually do, as they did in the case of the man in the above story, will we have the confidence to continue trusting in God.  A God who makes no apologies for His actions nor provides any easily understandable explanation for the various evils which occur in this world?

Last Sunday was a terrific day for me.  I spent the morning and afternoon with my wife, daughter, youngest son and his girlfriend.  We had lunch together and enjoyed a relaxing day.  In the early evening, I spotted a motorcycle on line and contacted the owner. (I’ve been patiently looking for the right bike for 6 months).  Several hours later, I was the new owner of a very well cared for bike which I was able to purchase at a good fair price.  I went to bed Sunday thinking ‘God is good’ and I thanked Him for the great day I had.  Monday morning started like any other workday but just an hour into the day my sister called with news that something was terribly wrong with our mom.  Within hours our lives would change dramatically as my mom went from being mostly self-sufficient to being bed ridden and needing full time care.  It’s been one heck of a difficult week, but through it all I am convinced that God is good and in the end He will work it all out.

How can I be so confident?  The answer to that question is this; in order to trust God when the going gets tough, we must first learn to trust him while the going is good.  In fact, I would go so far as to say it is imperative to learn to trust God now while we are able to learn and receive instruction.  Once a trial comes upon us, it is nearly impossible to accept instruction from God or man.  While in the midst of a storm, we naturally become so self-focused that we can’t see the bigger picture nor can we imagine anything good coming out of what we are experiencing.  Therefore if we fail to learn to trust God in the good times, we will most certainly fail to trust Him when put to the test by trial or tribulation.

There are few things sadder than seeing a person struggle with their faith as they are besieged by some trial in their life.  At a time when they most need a solid foundation to stand upon, they find themselves sinking in the mire.  Often such people will ask questions like ‘Why is God doing this to me?’ or ‘Why is God allowing this to happen to me?’  The truth is, that their questions betray a failure on their part to understand God.  Not to say that God is easily understood, after all if He was, He wouldn’t be much of a god.  But God has graciously revealed a great deal about Himself.  His character and attributes can be grasped by anyone, even a child, if we are but willing to diligently seek Him.

At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a sensible man who builds his house on the rock. Down came the rain and up came the floods, while the winds blew and roared upon that house—and it did not fall because its foundations were on the rock.

“And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not follow them can be compared with a foolish man who built his house on sand. Down came the rain and up came the floods, while the winds blew and battered that house till it collapsed, and fell with a great crash.”

The principal found in the above citation is straightforward; be prepared through constant practice.  Those who put into practice the teachings of Jesus will be prepared when the storms of life come because they will have experienced God’s faithfulness as they lived out His commands.  They will have learned to trust God because He has proven Himself trustworthy in their lives through both good times and bad.  But those who fail to put into practice what Jesus taught will have no firm foundation when the storms come.  They will have no deeper knowledge of God or His faithfulness.  Their lack of experiential knowledge of God will leave them defenseless against the trial.  Their lives, represented by the house, will have been built on a foundation of shifting sand, which will fail them under the intense pressures of the storm.  If they survive the trial, they may have opportunity to rebuild their lives on a better foundation.  One of solid rock.

The ultimate storm of course is death from which there is no return or second chance.  If we are proved faithless when that storm strikes, there will be no opportunity to rebuild.  Only utter ruin.  You think about that.  God bless you and…..

 

See you on the road.

Bob Anton: Christian Motorcyclists Association

For more information on CMA or questions or comments concerning this column, please contact

Bob Anton at 631-897-8122 or baftmny@aol.com

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