Girlfriends in God - Sept. 11, 2012

September 11, 2012
Gideon Meets Indiana Jones
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it (Hebrews 11:1, ICB).

Friend to Friend
I have a love-hate relationship with the movie, “The Last Crusader.” The hero, Indiana Jones, is constantly hovering above some bottomless pit or dodging bullets, flying knives or hoards of sinister enemies and nasty creatures that are trying to kill him and prevent him from completing his mission. It is exhausting to watch! One part of the movie stands out above the rest as terrifying moments go.

As usual, Indiana is on the run and comes to a chasm he must cross in order to obtain the Holy Grail. No bridge. No net. No ropes or hat tricks - just air, and nothing but air.

At this point in the movie, I am looking for a tangible resolution to Indiana’s predicament. Maybe a hidden elevator built into the side of the abyss or an alternate route to the treasure. You know, something you could touch and see and … well, explain.

Instead, the treasure map dictates a ridiculous solution that makes no sense at all but demands a huge step of faith. If Indiana will just step over the edge of that bottomless pit … a bridge, a rock wall will appear. Right! How about that bridge appears and then Indiana traipses across it?

Nope. That is not the plan.

Even though I have seen the movie several times, my stomach still lurches as Indiana closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and cautiously steps out into air and the seemingly bottomless abyss. If the treasure map is wrong and the wall does not appear, Indiana Jones will surely plummet to his death. Fortunately, the clue is correct, the wall does appear and Indiana Jones races across to safety, resuming his quest.

Gideon and Indiana Jones have a lot in common when it comes to faith. “Am I not sending you?” God asked Gideon, as if that fact explained it all. Actually, it does explain it all. In order to experience the power of God, we have to be willing to step out in faith, even when it seems there is no way and no solution to the problem at hand and our strength is gone. God will strengthen us as we go. He is the Way Maker and the only thing that really matters is the fact that God sends us.

The Coast Guard has a motto: “You must go out but you don’t have to come back.”  A powerful life is fueled by the kind of faith that steps out in obedience and lets God worry about whether or not we come back. At the center of every challenge is an opportunity for trust in God to work.  Every problem contains a concentrated opportunity and offers the option of stepping out in faith. 

The highest truths God has to offer are rarely wrapped in a beautifully wrapped or elegantly presented package and handed to us on a silver platter. I am convinced that our Father takes heaven-sent treasures, buries them at the heart of a huge problem, then watches and applauds when we have what it takes to break that problem apart, finding the wealth hidden there in the darkness. The words of Isaiah say it well. “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness - secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name” (Isaiah 45:3 NLT). Some things cannot be learned in the light. The greatest treasures are often buried in the deepest pits and require a step of faith to discover.

We all have faith. We go to a doctor we don’t really know and are handed a prescription we cannot read. We then take that prescription to a pharmacist, a total stranger, who presents us with a mysterious bottle filled with pills that we swallow – all in faith. Our problem is not so much a lack of faith but where we place that faith.

Billy Graham said, “Most of us do not understand nuclear fission, but we accept it. I don’t understand television, but I accept it. I don’t understand radio, but every week my voice goes out around the world, and I accept it. Why is it so easy to accept all these man-made miracles and so difficult to accept the miracles of the Bible?”

Hebrews 11:1(ICB) “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”

Faith is built upon trust. God wants us to trust Him - even when we do not understand what is happening or can explain the circumstances. Even when nothing makes sense and everything seems wrong. It is easy to trust Him when the seas are calm and the skies are clear, but the strength of our faith is measured in the midst of a raging storm. A crisis always reveals what is really inside. What life does to us depends on what life finds in us. Faith is a deliberate choice to believe God, to walk through our fear, knowing we can trust Him every step of the way.

Let’s Pray
Father, I am tired of living a life that can be explained and understood in human terms. My heart longs to walk by faith, counting on Your strength instead of my own, knowing that You orchestrate every step to illustrate Your power made perfect in my weakness. Today, I choose to trust You instead of demanding an explanation for what is happening in my life. Right now, I choose to walk through my fear and step out in faith.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Scripture tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Matthew 17:20 also tells us that even a tiny amount of faith pleases Him. “I (Jesus) tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

A mustard seed is tiny, but once planted, it grows into a huge tree. Jesus said a little bit of faith can have incredible results. We don't need a lot of faith - just as much as a mustard seed to produce great results. Why? Because our God is an awesome God and our faith depends on Him.  

What is the greatest storm in your life today?
What step do you need to take to face that trial with faith instead of fear?
What is keeping you from trusting God and stepping out in faith?

More from the Girlfriends
We are on this journey of faith with you and pray for God’s strength and power where you need it most. He knows. You can trust Him. Just take one step of faith and He will meet you there.

Need faith?Mary’s MP3s Stepping Out in Faithand Strength for the Stormwill help you discover how to appropriate God’s power so that you can walk by faith … not by sight. Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey and connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Tuesday, 11 September 2012.